Textbooks: Before Getting Started

  • Eliminate all distractions!
  • Always know what you are looking for before you search the Internet or library.
  • You need to be quite selective when you read because you will not have time, or indeed need to read everything on your reading list. To discover what texts are relevant to your subject or if you need to clarify teaching session notes, start by using the table of contents or index to go straight to the subject. You can also read the introduction and conclusion chapters to decide that the book is worth reading. A good bibliography is also a good indication of the type of information given in the book/article and of its worth.
  • Look for questions based on the information you are seeking i.e., say to yourself: “Is this section dealing with such and such a topic? Shall I find the answers to such and such a question?” These will help you to read actively and critically.
  • If you are reading to prepare for an essay, you will probably want to read a chapter or section of the book. Start by scanning through the section, looking at headings and subheadings to get an overall perspective, and then read in more detail.
  • Try to select and read only material that is relevant to your needs. This is important as you will never have time to read all the material on your reading list.
« Back to Student SuccessLast updated November 21, 2019