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Searching, Reading and Notetaking

Wider reading and research is an important part of your academic study. You are expected to find appropriate information sources and use these to develop your understanding and ideas.

NotebookThere are many information sources that you may find useful in your studies such as: journals, databases, the internet, books and newspapers. Knowing what you need the information for will help you decide which resource type you need and where you can find it.

Planning your search will help you find the most appropriate information sources and can often save you time. Sources need to be evaluated as not everything you find will be reliable or good quality and some may even be misleading or out of date.

Academic texts can be difficult to read and understand and this process can take time. You don't need to start by reading everything that you select from cover to cover. Think about what you are reading the text for and which reading strategy will suit your aims.

Note-taking is a good way to identify the key points or arguments of a text. You decide what is useful to note down, but remember to make sure you also record the information needed to reference correctly.

There are lots of different approaches to making notes from reading or lectures. You might use a range of techniques depending on how you are planning to use the notes. Experiment and find out what works best for you.

Online resources

Student support

The Library

Liaison librarian talking to a studentThrough the Library you have access to many different types of academic resources from books and journal articles to government publications and maps.

Library staff can help you to:

  • access the resources available through the library
  • plan your search strategy and use databases effectively
  • narrow or broaden your searches
  • evaluate whether an information source is appropriate for your purposes
  • manage the information you find, including organising references and keeping up-to-date with alerts for new research

Go to the Library page.

The Writing Development Centre

The Writing Development Centre tutors can help you:

  • develop your ability to critically evaluate literature
  • evaluate your current reading strategies and discuss alternatives
  • explore ways of taking effective lecture notes and notes from reading

Go to the Writing Development Centre page.

The Specialist Learning Team

The team can help students who have a specific learning difficulty with:

  • making and using notes
  • reading strategies
  • critical reading skills

Go to the Specialist Learning page.