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Information Literacy Tutorial: Tips for reading

A module-based information literacy tutorial that addresses each stage of the research process, including selecting a topic, identifying information needs, selecting sources, locating information, evaluating information, and citing sources.

Reading an academic text

Once you've found and evaluated an information source on your topic, it's time to engage with it!

Remember:  Not ALL the text may be relevant to your need.  Think about your purpose for reading

  • Are you reading for a general understanding of a topic/concept?
  • Are you reading for some specific information for an assignment?

Take a look at the skim reading method in the box on the right.  This will help, especially for longer readings.

Making sense of a text

Good authors will organise their information in a systematic way.

Here are some typical ways that information may be organised in a text:

Past ideas to present ideas
Steps or stages of a process or event 
Most important point to least important point 
Well-known ideas to least-known ideas
Simple ideas to complex ideas
General ideas to specific ideas
The largest parts to the smallest parts of something
Problems and solutions
Causes and results

Now that you know about these practices you can start using them in your own writing too!

Keep thinking while you're reading: 

Find the main idea

Find supporting details

Make connections

Find cause and effect

Think about the author's purpose

Make predictions

Infer meaning

Distinguish between facts & opinion

Visualize for meaning

Use context clues

KEEP A DICTIONARY HANDY - AND USE IT!  It will help expand your vocabulary for writing as well.


Learn how to Skim Read

To save time, skim read the text first to get a sense of the layout and purpose of the content.


Preview:  Read only the title and headings, and look at any illustrations, or charts/tables -- look for concepts that match your need

Overview: Go back and read the Abstract (the initial summary, if there is one), and the first sentence introducing each heading, plus the concluding paragraph.  This gives you an idea of the layout and organisation of the text.

Inview: Ask yourself: “Does this text give me the information I require and where might it be located in the text"?  This is the section you should read thoroughly and make notes from.

When you use this method, the important points of the text should emerge, giving you a picture of what it is about.


Image Source: "Literature" by james119.deviantart




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