(1) Get a context for the article/book. When was it written, where was it published, nationality of the author, background of the author, etc?
(2) What it the central argument of the book?
(3) What are the sub-arguments?
(4) How is the book/chapter/article organized? What are the main themes of each chapter/section/paragraph?
(5) How does the author use other sources of information and what are they? (Examples: ancient sources, modern sources, archaeology, statistics, art, etc.)
(6) Who is the author speaking to--who do you think is the presumed audience?
(7) What assumptions can you find in the book or article?
(8) What moral, political, religious , ideological, etc. position does the author write from in the book or article?
(9) What theoretical position does the author begin with and write from in the book or article? And where do you think they are going with the argument?
(10) What do you like about the book or article and what do you find helpful?
(11) How could the book or article be improved?
(12) What do you disagree with in the book or article and why?
(13) What did you learn from this book or article?
(14) Would a different style of writing or organization improve the presentation of the argument?
Last modified: Ides of August, in the 2762th ab urbe condita (from the Foundation of the City, Rome, that is....2009, for those of you on a different calendar).