Researching and reading

Once you've understood the assignment question, you'll need to spend time researching the topic to help shape your response, and reading the resources you find. This is one of the most important parts of the assignment process, and you'll need to give it the biggest chunk of time (see Assignment Calculator (opens in a new window) for a personalised, step-by-step timeline).


For most of your assignments, you will need to do some research. This means searching for scholarly information related to the topic in order to find out what researchers have said about the topic and to develop your own ideas. Once you have read and understood a range of sources one the topic, you will be better able to come to reliable conclusions about a particular question or issue.

Here you'll find help with the different types of sources you might use in research, how to find sources, and how to think about them. You can also ask a Library staff member in red for help in finding scholarly sources for your assignments.

Successful Searching tutorials (opens in a new window) These Library online tutorials will take you through five skills that are important for finding and using information effectively. Information skills icon
Types of sources (opens in a new window) In this PDF you'll find help for understanding different kinds of sources that you can use for your assignment. PDF icon image 
Critical thinking (opens in a new window) In this PDF you'll find practical resources to develop your skills in critical thinking.

PDF icon image

APPEAL source evaluation worksheet (opens in a new window)Use this interactive PDF to evaluate each source you find, to ensure that the sources you use are scholarly sources. PDF image icon


You read all the time, whether you realise it or not – you read text messages on your phone, the timetable at the bus stop, or the signs on the road. You might read the weather forecast in the newspaper or in an app so that you know how to dress, the advertisements on the train because you're bored, or a novel for fun. Each type of reading and its purpose is different, again whether you realise it or not.

Many students struggle with reading for university, but it doesn't have to be an uphill battle. You just need to figure out what you need to read and why you need to read it, then use the strategies in the resources below to help you become a more effective reader.

Interactive tutorials

Library Study Smart Tips for effective reading: Pre-reading. Female student in library Use pre-reading techniques to decide whether to spend time reading a source.

Library Study Smart Tips for effective reading: Selective reading. Male student. Use selective reading techniques to quickly find the information you need.

Library Study Smart Tips for effective reading: Active reading. Female student with books. Use active reading techniques to understand and engage with what you read.

The why, when, and what of reading (opens in a new window) In this PDF you'll learn why reading at university is important, when you should read, and what you should read. PDF icon image 
How to read effectively (opens in a new window) Here you will find practical strategies and tips for effective and efficient reading.

PDF icon image

Organising your reading (opens in a new window) This PDF shows you how to keep on top of your reading workload. PDF icon image 
Note-making for critical thinking (opens in a new window)In this PDF you'll find examples of note-taking systems to help you read and think critically. Find more resources on note-taking in Attending lectures and tutorials.PDF icon image
Reading worksheet (opens in a new window) Keep a copy of this PDF to guide your note-taking whenever you read for university.

PDF icon image

Drop into a campus library (opens in a new window) and ask Library staff in red or chat to an Online Librarian (opens in a new window) or drop in to see a Study Smart Advisor at your campus.