PQRST is a reading strategy. I’ve made a version for philosophy grad school that I’ve been trying out to improve my reading efficiency. BREAK The main problem with PQRST for philosophy is that thinking up questions to be answered by reading the article is hard as there are almost always just two questions:

  • what are the claims of this paper?
  • how does it fit into the dialectic?

So here’s my strategy:

  1. Preview: read title, abstract (or if absent the first paragraph); look at subheadings; read last paragraph
  2. if this generates a question to answer scribble it down, but doesn’t matter if it doesn’t
  3. read through once very fast, not allowing myself to stop on the harder parts but making a mental note of them
  4. at top of notes pages, space to make five bullet points answering claims and how fits into dialectic
  5. then go through and make careful notes on the structure. However, keep two permanent questions and one question-for-this-text and don’t make notes that don’t contribute to this purpose as far as you can figure out (of course knowing whether something is relevant is hard on e.g. the first piece of reading for a topic)
  6. then come back at the end and fill in the box at the top after looking over notes again.