Posting for a friend, but in first person for simplicity.
I am a research master student in linguistics of a particular language. In my bachelor thesis and some coursework I specialised on a very specific topic. There is enough to explore in this topic to also write a master thesis on it and continue to do a PhD on a slightly broader topic. I will write my master thesis from February onwards and am now preparing for it with an extensive literature review.
My advisor suggests that it is better to not specialise too early in my career, to avoid having trouble getting grants for other work in the future because all my work so far would have been so specific. Thus he wants me to do a much broader literature review, which would allow me to approach my specific questions from a larger perspective.
I see her points and agree. However, I have trouble reading texts of which most is only sideways related to the specific questions I have in mind. So it feels my reading is very inefficient, because I read relatively little that I can use directly and doubt that much of the other things I read will persist in memory. I find the texts interesting but they do not stick (perhaps because I cannot relate them to enough concrete other memories).
What are some techniques I can use to get more out of my general background reading?