I recently have begun taking university classes again, and I have been reminded of the impressive breadth and depth of knowledge wielded by professors. I'm interested in getting some insight into how they do it, both because it's an interesting question in its own right and because I would like to learn how to become a better academic myself. For this reason I'd like if some of the high level academics here on PF could share their own techniques for how the keep on top of their field and also how they go about branching off into areas that are relatively new to them. By "high level academics" I mean to target people with advanced degrees and experience in their respective fields, i.e. professors, researchers, postdocs, etc. Input from graduate students would also be appreciated, but I would like this to be the cut-off point. So if you are below the graduate level in your field, I respectfully request that you do not offer your study techniques here. The general question I'm interested in is: How do high level academics acquire and integrate information? Below I ask some more specific forms and offshoots of this question. Don't feel as if you're compelled to answer any or all of them-- any response to the original question is appreciated-- but if you could address some of the more specific questions asked below, that would be helpful. * How do the following rank in importance and/or usefulness in acquiring and integrating information in your field and others? Journal articles/papers, books, textbooks, conferences, discussion with peers, discussion with 'mentors,' lectures, lab meetings, other * By what means do you typically come across informative or useful papers? Subscription to a journal, reference from other papers, reference from a book/textbook, author search in a library/internet database, keyword search in a library/internet database, suggested by peers, suggested by 'mentors,' general reputation (e.g. "everyone in the field knows this is a seminal/classic paper"), other? * How often do you read a paper or book because it was referenced in another paper or book? * How do you get information to really sink in and click into place with pre-existing knowledge and concepts? Repeated reading, note taking, pencil markup of papers/books, discussion with others, repeated application of concepts, other? * Do you approach learning about a field that is relatively new to you differently from how you stay on top of your area of expertise? If so, how? * Is there any difference to the manner in which you acquire/integrate information/concepts in terms of breadth, as opposed to depth? How do you go about branching off into info/concepts that are relatively peripheral to your focal academic interest? * Feel free to pose and answer any other salient questions I may have missed. Thanks much.