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Education Resources

Skimming and Scanning Types of Reading from MB0023 of SMU MBA

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

As we have already said, we read in different ways depending on the purpose for which we are reading a text. Let us look at skimming and scanning types of reading.


Let’s say that you are a student of Management; and as suggested by your professor, you need to buy a reference text book on Investment Management or you need to write a paper on Computer Graphics. You go to a book store and see a rack full of books, with the same title, but different authors. You don’t have time to read the pages before deciding on buying the book. Hence, you quickly go through the contents, title page and the blurb (it is a slang meaning, a short piece of writing that praises and promotes something, especially a paragraph on the cover of a book).

By now, you have decided to buy one book. The type of reading that you did in the bookstall is “skimming.” Thus, skimming means, “looking quickly over a text/book to get a general superficial idea of the content.”


As you read a text, editorial or an article, you suddenly come across a word that is not familiar to your. Naturally, you would like to know the meaning of the word, for your own benefit.

So you get the dictionary and carefully find the word. You see the spelling, pronunciation, meaning and also the various uses of the same word (if any). This type of careful reading, to find out the specific, clear details, is known as Scanning. Here you don’t just run your eyes across the page, but look into the information for specific details.

Skimming and scanning types of reading have been taken from Business Communication (MB0023) Book of SMU MBA. It is the next chapter of reading and purpose of reading.


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