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The University of Southampton
The Learn With US Transition Programme

Getting started with research: academic reading

Getting used to the demands of academic reading and note-taking is a skill that takes practice - especially when reading resources like academic journals that are often published by specialists in their respective fields.

Student reading

Academic reading differs from recreational reading. Getting used to the demands of academic reading can take some adjustment, and it is a skill that improves with practice. There are a number of techniques that can be used when embarking on academic reading. Pages 4-6 of our academic guide Navigating the Page outlines these techniques and when they are most appropriate to use. 

One of the most important parts of academic reading is maintaining focus on critical thinking. When we read resources as researchers, there is an expectation to scrutinise and evaluate information put to us in order to weigh up arguments, evidence and conclusions. This means asking questions like:

You will also need to give some thought as to how you will record notes from the readings that you undertake. The focus should be on making notes about information most relevant to your question. One possible way to do this is to compile a source evaluation table; an organised and easy to access document. When writing or typing up notes, it is also important to:

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