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How to solve a problem like researching for your first science assignment!

1. What will I learn in this section?

We will cover:

  • How to begin to engage with specialist sources.
  • A range of reading techniques.

2. Reading is a life long skill

This is a picture of books stacked in front of book shelves.Let's think about reading. 

It is a life long skill which we use every day. There are lots of reasons why we read:

  • to find information to answer assignments
  • because we enjoy it as a pastime
  • to boost our wellbeing
  • to learn about the world
  • to find out how to complete a task or learn a skill

What about at university?

Here, reading is all about developing your understanding of your subject and its unavoidable! You need to make connections between ideas and processes to be able to understanding how a field has developed. Reading can also be very practical and technical for example how to make a buffer solution or how to use the centrifuge.

To get the most out of your reading, we need to be active and engage with the information. This could mean:

  • making notes.
  • highlighting text.
  • pulling apart articles into themes.


This is a picture of a light bulb.                      Activity 1: Develop your active reading skills

  • Watch the Reading Critically video on LinkedIn. This provides a concise overview to critical reading.
  • You can extend this activity by reading the Effective Reading guide. The guide is more detailed than the video and provides lots of examples of different different formats of information and related reading techniques.

Do not forget, sometimes we are too tired to read and engage with the text.

It is OK to take a break and come back to reading when you are refreshed. If would like advice about how to make the most of your reading then talk to one of the Skills Centres advisors to see what approaches they can recommend.

3. How to read specialist sources

Learn how to maximise your time and get help from experts!

Doing this now, may save you time when you are reading journal articles and your assignment time is getting closer than you would like!

We have chosen a range of reading related resources related to Biosciences, Chemistry and Health to help you understand how to read journal articles in these fields.

The resource are selected from professional bodies or organisations related to Biosciences and Chemistry plus links to the academic reading resources recommended by the Skills Centre resources.


This is a picture of a light bulb.                      Activity 3: Choose the most appropriate guide to read. 

After you have read the guide, choose how you now feel about academic reading! There is tailored feedback depending on your answer!

This section contains links to useful information that is covered in the quizzes tailored feedback!

AccessScience is a really useful source to look up new concepts and theories!

We recommend this to all students!

4. Take a break

Congratulations you have completed three sections! 

Time to take a break - watch the Curated Reading Lists video - to find out how reading can help broaden our perspectives.