Reading academic texts provides you with knowledge and information about your subject. Reading critically will challenge your existing ideas, create new ideas and expand your thoughts. However, at first, academic reading can be difficult to do; below are a few tips to make it easier for you.
- Choose a text which suits your reading style and level of knowledge. Look at a range of resources and notice the layout of pages, use of colour, size of type, size of book, the depth of the information etc.
- Read to increase subject knowledge. You are at university to learn about a subject you are interested in. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to read every word, or expect to understand information on first reading. information is absorbed into the memory by 'little and often' reading.
- Read for a purpose. Make sure you know why you are reading a specific text. Is it appropriate for your needs? What sort of text you are reading? For example, a journal, book, act of parliament or command paper? You need to understand the different types of sources you are required to use in your subject area.
- Develop your reading ability. Perfect your reading skills such as skimming, scanning, detailed reading and speed reading. Read actively by questioning the text, highlighting, paraphrasing, summarizing and making notes. Recognise the difference between fact and opinion. Develop your thinking by reading for author agreement and disagreement.
- Don’t believe everything you read. Learn to critically appraise your sources of information. Assess the evidence the author is presenting to support their views. Evaluate the text. Find out the credentials of the author(s), the date of publication, the edition, the way the text is laid out etc. Ask yourself whether the text is going to be acceptable as an academic source of information. Will it impress your tutor?