Choosing Relevant Readings

Much of the reading that you will do at university is set or recommended by your lecturer. However, when you are researching to support an assignment you will need to read more widely to decide which texts are suitable for your purpose.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Is the text at a suitable level for my understanding?

If the subject is new to you, it may help to read more general explanations of terminology or concepts. While not academic enough to be used as evidence in your assignments, websites and online encyclopedias may be helpful for this purpose.

Is the content of this text suitable for my purpose?

Ask yourself whether the information in the book, chapter or article you are reading will be useful as background information or evidence in your assignment. Focus your attention on the sections that will be useful, or don’t be afraid to put aside the text if it does not suit your purpose. Part of what is being assessed is your ability to select relevant research for your assignments, so trust your judgement.

The CRAAP test refers to your assessment of the text's suitability and worth.  You can use the CRAAP test as a guide to assess the suitability of a  reading to cite in your assignment.

C=currency, r=relevance, a=authority, a=accuracy, p=purpose

Engage with the text

The reader needs to engage with and question the text.  You may already ask yourself questions as you read, but we suggest that you purposefully create and write down the questions you want to be answered before you begin deeper reading.

Think about why you have selected this text to read and ask yourself:

  • What do I expect to learn from this text
  • How does this text fit with the content of lectures?
  • How does this text relate to other texts I have read on this topic?
  • How can I use the information in this text to support my writing?
  • Does this text suit my purpose and is it worth reading?