Reading your reading list and recognising references

Got your reading list but not sure what you’re being asked to read (is it a book, is it an article, is it a bird, is it a plane…)? Or are you just not sure how you’re meant to search for and find these items in the Library (in print or online)?


Being unsure about this is very common for new students so you’re not alone but if you can learn how to read your reading list and recognise references now it will make you more confident using the Library and will save you a lot of time and effort in your studies. And these skills will be of use to you at all stages of your University life and beyond.

What’s in a reading list?

Reading lists are just lists of essential, recommended or further readings for your course. They can include a wide range of material including books, book chapters, journal articles, documentaries, films, newspaper articles, websites, blogs, etc., but I am going to concentrate on the 3 most common:

  • Book
  • Book chapter
  • Journal article

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