Understanding the approach.
Remember your initial research focus is the macro area – not your specific genre, star, auteur, technology… So please don’t reject a book simply because it doesn’t give you exactly what you’re looking for, it’s a book, not the internet! What the textbooks do give you is academic credibility. These authors are highly regarded academics and not just someone with an opinion, which is what a lot of online material is. The text books will also give you an understanding of that macro area and help you develop a framework you study your films. So your first question should be something like:
‘What does a… genre study, auteur study, star study, technology study… look like and what areas of a film should I be exploring?’
You might also find in the text book example case studies for other stars, auteurs, genres…just look at what they did for one example and copy it for yours.
Reading for Research
Reading for research may seem daunting, because you’re faced with a lots of material. First of all pace yourself – you’ve got almost a month before you have to present your research. Use the schedule and break the research into manageable chunks – only read one or two sources a day. also, develop a speed reading technique:
Top tips for speed reading:
- Always use the contents page and index to home in on the section in the book that seems most useful.
- Read the first page and last page of each chapter, these usually sum up the chapter and give you a sense whether it’s worth reading more closely.
- Read the first paragraph and last paragraph of each sub section.
- Finally, read the first sentence and last sentence of each paragraph – again this can help you find useful ideas more quickly.
Alternatively you can try skim reading, which is reading, not for complete sense, but letting your eyes skim the chapter looking for key words / names and then reading the sections that contain those words carefully.
Make useful notes as you read.
Make notes as you go. If you don’t you’ll just have to go back and read it again when you’re preparing your presentation script. Here is a link to a document designed to help you keep notes on your research as you go. Use one for each source.