difference between scanning and skimming

The Difference Between Scanning and Skimming

When it comes to reading, we often hear the terms “scanning” and “skimming”. Both methods are used to quickly go through a text and locate relevant information. However, there is a difference between the two methods. In this article, we will discuss the difference between scanning and skimming.

Scanning

Scanning is a reading technique that is used to quickly find specific information or keywords in a text. When scanning, the reader is looking for a particular piece of information and ignores everything else. This method is often used when we are looking for something specific, like a name or a date, in a long document.

Scanning involves quickly glancing over the text, often moving eyes back and forth across the page in a zig-zag pattern to locate the information. The reader does not read every word but only focuses on the parts of the text that contain the information they are looking for.

For example, if you are searching for a phone number in a directory, you would use scanning. You would not read through the entire directory but would go straight to the section with the phone numbers and scan to find the one you need.

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Skimming

Skimming is a reading technique that is used to quickly get an overview of the text. When skimming, the reader is looking for the main idea or the most important points in the text. This method is often used when we have a lot of material to read, and we want to gather the most critical information quickly.

Skimming involves rapidly glancing over the text, often moving eyes down the page to see the headings, bolded or italicized words, and other visual cues that highlight the essential information. The reader reads more than they would during scanning method but still quickly moves down the page.

For example, if you are conducting research, you might skim through multiple articles to find the most relevant information. You would quickly go through the articles, reading the headings and subheadings, to determine which ones contained the critical points you were looking for.

The Differences

Scanning and skimming are different reading techniques that are used for specific purposes. While both methods are used to quickly find information, scanning is primarily used to locate specific details, while skimming is used to find the main idea or general overview of the text.

Scanning involves ignoring everything in the text except for the information that is being sought, while skimming involves paying attention to visual cues or the essential points of the text.

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In conclusion, understanding the differences between scanning and skimming can help you to select the best reading method for your needs. Both techniques are valuable tools that can help you to quickly locate information, and choosing the right one for the situation will help you to be more efficient and effective.

Table difference between scanning and skimming



Difference between Scanning and Skimming

Scanning Skimming
Meaning Reading to find a particular piece of information quickly Reading to get a general idea of the text
Objective Locate specific information in a text Get an overview of a text
Speed Reading at a fast pace Reading at a very fast pace
Scope Narrow Wide
Focus On specific details On the main idea
Reading Techniques Looking for key words, phrases, numbers, or dates Reading headings, subheadings, bullet points, and the first and last sentence of each paragraph