Study Skills: SQ3R Explained

The SQ3R approach (Morris, 1979) provides an effective approach to studying and learning. SQ3R is an acronym that stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review, and it is claimed that these represent the five stages in effective learning from texts. We will consider these five stages with respect to the task of reading a chapter of a book.

  1. The Survey stage involves obtaining an overall view of how the information in the chapter is organized (e.g., using the technique of chapter summary).
  2. The Question stage involves thinking of relevant questions to which you expect a given section of the chapter to provide answers.
  3. The Read stage involves trying to answer the questions generated during the previous stage and trying to integrate the information provided in that section to your pre-existing topic knowledge.
  4. The Recite stage involves trying to remember the key ideas contained in the chapter section you have been reading.
  5. Finally, the Review stage involves combining information from different sections into a coherent structure.

The research discussed by Dunlosky et al. (2013) provides empirical support for the SQ3R approach. For example, explaining how new information is related to pre-existing information and providing explanations for statements in the text both form part of the approach and were found by Dunlosky et al. to be moderately effective. These two strategies have two advantages: (1) they are applicable generally and (2) they require minimal training.