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From the Word web dictionary:

Study: Consider in detail and subject to an analysis in order to discover essential features or meaning

Particularly, I am looking for a word (synonym of 'study') which describes reading the research literature thoroughly (e.g. in order to review it), and getting the most out of it.

Actually I am writing a proposal for a software application to search and read research literature. So I want to say that it will be designed and optimized in a way that you can get the most out of reading the research articles (because of features like highlighting terms of interest, e.g. highlighting all names of cars in an article about different automobile manufacturers).

So I want a word used in this kind of meaning/context. Any suggestions are welcome.

Edit: I just applied bold format to the part of the question which describes why it is different from the other question, i.e. a part of my question is that the word/phrase should describe that there are features available to get the most out of the reading experience.

marked as duplicate by Kristina Lopez, Dan Bron, TRomano, rajah9, Chenmunka Jun 26 '15 at 11:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 4
    There is the idiom "close reading". Once, we could have suggested peruse with no caveats, but no longer. – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 15:00
  • 2
    Because it now means "read carefully" AND "skim lightly". – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 15:09
  • 1
    Solace, since your software doesn't force people to read the material in a specific way, but attempts to be informative through design, I think you're better off asking for a shorter way to say "get the most out of". – Tushar Raj Jun 25 '15 at 15:14
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    @TimRomano Sure, "the best" is a matter of opinion too, but yet we still have the word "best". – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 15:40
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    @Dan Bron: The OP needs to be more specific about the idea he's trying to convey. "The most" is just a placeholder for everyone to inject their own sense of what he might mean. – TRomano Jun 25 '15 at 15:50

I like @BeansnLeaves' peruse the best, but since in recent decades that word has developed a secondary sense at odds with its original meaning, it creates a certain risk of ambiguity.

If your context can't bear that slight risk, an alternative which is less succinct but also less likely to be misunderstood is close-reading.

This term has a very specific meaning in certain academic disciplines (specifically, litcrit), but its conventional meaning is precisely "consider in detail and subject to an analysis", what you are looking for.

For example, Dr. Wheeler of Carson-Newman University defines it thus:

To do a close reading, you choose a passage and analyze it in fine detail, as if with a magnifying glass.


Possibly pore over

to make a close intent examination or study (of a book, map, etc) ⇒ he pored over the documents for several hours


  • 2
    @Dan Bron It really is a phrasal verb. You improved it. – bib Jun 25 '15 at 15:38

Analyze definitely implies thoroughness:


to study (something) closely and carefully

to learn the nature and relationship of the parts of (something) by a close and careful examination


peruse pəˈruːz/ verb formal

examine carefully or at length. "Laura perused a Caravaggio"

read (something), typically in a thorough or careful way. "he has spent countless hours in libraries perusing art history books and catalogues"

(Source: Google.com)

As Dan pointed, this also means 'to glance over'. See definition #2 below.

pe·ruse (pə-ro͞oz′)

  1. To read or examine, typically with great care.
  2. Usage Problem To glance over; skim.

Usage Note: Peruse has long meant "to read thoroughly," as in He perused the contract until he was satisfied that it met all of his requirements, which was acceptable to 75 percent of the Usage Panel in our 2011 survey. But the word is often used more loosely, to mean simply "to read," as in The librarians checked to see which titles had been perused in the last month and which ones had been left untouched. Seventy percent of the Panel rejected this example in 1999, but only 39 percent rejected it in 2011. Further extension of the word to mean "to glance over, skim" has traditionally been considered an error, but our ballot results suggest that it is becoming somewhat more acceptable. When asked about the sentence I only had a moment to peruse the manual quickly, 66 percent of the Panel found it unacceptable in 1988, 58 percent in 1999, and 48 percent in 2011. Use of the word outside of reading contexts, as in We perused the shops in the downtown area, is often considered a mistake. American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.


  • 1
    I'll upvote this answer if you add a caveat that these days peruse is also used to mean the precise opposite of "reading carefully". – Dan Bron Jun 25 '15 at 15:53
  • 1
    Thanks Dan. I didn't know about this usage for peruse. Good to know about it. – mindfultrails Jun 25 '15 at 16:00
  • Peruse received special attention in another question here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/116016/… – hatchet Jun 25 '15 at 20:35

In AmE we often use the word "digest" as an analogy to describe this...

As in:

  • You ate it. (You read it.)

  • It was broken-down into nutrients in your stomach. (You extracted the information.)

  • It went through your intestines and out your other end. (You absorbed what was necessary, and discarded the superfluous.)

We also use the eating word "ruminate" (passing food back up from the stomach to re-chew it) to express a repeated and thorough thought-process, regarding a particular subject.


How about dissect?

From Merriam-Webster:

transitive verb

to analyze and interpret minutely

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