Because of the literature explosion, papers more skimmed than read.
Skimming involves reading the abstract, and looking at the figures and figure captions.
Break up the section into logical segments by using subheads. We want you to answer a scientific question or hypothesis.
We would like you to gather evidence -- from various sources -- to allow you to make interpretations and judgments.
If at all possible, start your thesis research during the summer between your junior and senior year - or even earlier - with an internship, etc. then work on filling in background material and lab work during the fall so that you're prepared to write and present your research during the spring .
The best strategy is to pick a project that you are interested in, but also that a faculty member or other professional is working on.
In most circumstances, this is best accomplished by physically separating statements about new observations from statements about the meaning or significance of those observations.
Alternatively, this goal can be accomplished by careful use of phrases such as "I infer ..." vast bodies of geological literature became obsolete with the advent of plate tectonics; the papers that survived are those in which observations were presented in stand-alone fashion, unmuddied by whatever ideas the author might have had about the processes that caused the observed phenomena.
The first time you read something, you will consciously remember some things, but may subconsciously take in other aspects.
It is important to cross check your conscious memory against your citations. Kennedy, 1985, On Academic Authorship Sigma Xi, 1984, Honor in Science Yale University pamphlet on plagiarism Write for brevity rather than length.