Reading and evaluating academic sources related to a topic you are studying or a piece of coursework you are completing is a fundamental part of learning at university. This can be quite daunting when you’re starting out and may not have engaged with these kinds of sources before. Finding helpful and relevant texts can be a challenge and they may be hard to make sense of at first glance.
Here are some tips from Tash Otterson, a 2nd Year English student, on how to get started with finding suitable texts and sources. These should help whether you’re working on your first university level essay or prepping for your dissertation!
- Make use of the library – you can check out books physically or find the online versions as ebooks, as well as accessing subject-specific online journals and publication databases. Even make an Inter-Library loan request.
- Online tools like Google Scholar can help you, especially if you only have a handful of key words to start from. Or, if you’re researching a more niche subject, its wide breadth of resources will help you greatly.
- Your tutors, lecturers and subject librarians can also help by pointing you in the right direction or suggesting some supportive secondary reading.
Get more tips and advice on academic reading from Tash by reading her article on the Student Life blog.
The amount of academic reading you will be expected to do will vary from course to course, but it is still likely to make up a large proportion of your independent study time. Whether you prefer reading a hard copy or online, being able to digest information in good time will be a valuable skill.