Overview of types of sources and potential places to look. We do not cover how to search the tools today. Focus on books and articles.
*Relevance of titles and contents. *Use the index to locate keywords and sections of use – is there anything worth your time? *Who are the authors? Find out about their background (often in the book itself). Have you heard of them? *Skim first page or two of a chapter – is it readable and accessible? Level?
Textbooks are rarely meant to be read cover to cover – dip in Read and digest, then make your notes. Helps to focus on what you actually want to know or find useful. Incorporate your own thoughts and understandings. Short summaries of chapters or sections can help to capture your initial thoughts which may eventually end up informing a chunk of your essay.
Library books are BORROWED. You should never assume that once you have the book, you can keep it for as long as you like. Library books are to be shared. Borrow it, read what you need to, return it for the next person. All the above tips especially * should help with this – evaluate the book before you borrow it.
There is a (not exhaustive) journal title list on LibGuides, which can be used for field searching Summon or giving you ideas of journals to add to your Zetoc Alerts.
Zetoc Alert instructions provided
Zetoc alert – once set up
Several slides for this – this one from SAGE journals
Authors – who, background, location Publication date – is currency an issue? Policy vs historical development (for example) Abstract – summary. Summon often shows this if you hover the mouse cursor over the title. Keywords – categorise the article content
Research study abstract – what is usually included.
First page of an article taken from Wiley
Make sure you have the reference details – all of them Title gives a clue as to nature of article – case study, review, response etc Author again – what else might they have written? (Gary Thomas has written various books and articles) Keywords again
Screen from taylor & francis journals
‘Users also read’, cited articles, reference lists – all valuable for following up related sources
Introduction – lots of signposting of what’s to come. Often similar to or expands on the abstract.
Conclusions – skip to these next? What has gone before, summing up, further work needed. For research, this may give overview of findings and recommendations. Is the rest of the article worth reading?
Citations – it can help to understand how you can include the work of others in your own writing – look at how experienced authors do this
The key thing is to think about a source’s suitability for your writing. Is it purposeful, relevant and credible?
Many students have learned the hard way! Summarising and reflecting on reading, beyond linear notes, are crucial for critical evaluation and discussion.
Reading the literature and keeping up to date
Reading the literature and
keeping up to date
Where is all this ‘literature’?
How do you choose and read an academic
How do you select and read journal articles?
How can you keep up to date with the latest
research in your area?
Creating notes and keeping records
Where will you find sources of info?
http://libguides.worc.ac.uk/education or http://libguides.worc.ac.uk/earlychildhood
Library (Hive) and
Academic Search Complete,
British Education Index; WRaP*;
Teachersmedia; Box of
Broadcasts; on demand; You
Tube; TED Talks Hansard (parliament.uk);
organisations and charities
News websites;TES; Lexis Library
legislation.gov.uk; Education in
England website; Childlink;
Digital Education Resource
Archive (DERA); Department for
Dissertations and Theses; Level 4 (Hive)
For websites see http://libguides.worc.ac.uk/education/websites
My iLibrary, Dawson Era
How to choose and read a textbook
• Title, contents, index (keywords?), authors,
date of publication
• Introductory chapter – what’s it all about?
• Skip to and skim a chapter – readability?
• Don’t expect to read from cover to cover
• Read first, create notes later
• Summarise your understanding
• Use it in those 2 weeks and expect
to return it
• Journals list on the LibGuides subject page
• Use Zetoc to set up email alerts for key titles:
1. Click the Zetoc link on your LibGuide
2. Click Zetoc Alert for emails
3. Find and select ‘University of Worcester UKFed’
4. Log in as normal
5. Enter your preferred email address for receiving the alerts, and give it a
6. Alerts have an expiry date so you can come back to change or add alerts.
7. Click ‘Add Journals’ to search for titles, or ‘Add Searches’ to add authors
or keywords. (You can switch between these on the next page.)
8. (Use Library Search to access the full articles – just search by article
How to choose a journal article
• Who are the
• Where are they
• When was the
• Abstract and
Another abstract example
– research study
Background (sometimes with references); methods; analysis;
findings; conclusions; further research or work needed
• Are the reference
details on the
accessed it too)
• Title: ’review’
what’s to come
• Author – known?
What else have
• Keywords to
• Look for
• Use the
list to find
Intro: signposting for the
reader – read this first
Conclusions – particularly
for research studies – will
this be of relevance? Is it
worth reading the whole
(As an aside – notice how
citations are included in the
(all sources but particularly website information)
• Authority – who wrote it and who are they?
• Audience – who was it written for?
• Accuracy – use your own knowledge
• Breadth and depth, references – validity and reliability
• Bias – why was it written and by who (role)
• Currency – date (does it matter?)
• Comparison with other sources – primary sources and
Purpose and relevance: Remember that you are writing
for an academic purpose and audience
Notes and records
• Be discerning: Your time is precious. Evaluate books and
articles before borrowing or printing. Know what you want to
read and get from them.
• Keep records: where you have searched, and the searches
you have tried. Some tools provide a search history which you
• Keep references: index cards or a Word document of all
references you’ve consulted and read – in Harvard format.
• Note creation: include your thoughts and reflections on what
you’ve read, alongside ‘typical’ notes of quotes, paraphrases
and page numbers. This will inform your eventual essay
• Summarise: your own short summaries of chapters and
articles are easier to refer back to than whole documents in
folders, especially when you want to find something quickly,
compare sources and plan an essay.
A Few Useful References
• Chong Ho Shan, P. (2012) How to read journal articles in the
social sciences: a very practical guide for students. London,
• Judge, B., Jones, P. & McCreery, E. (2009) Critical thinking skills
for education students. Exeter, Learning Matters. (370.7/JUD,
• Richardson, L. & McBryde-Wilding, H. (2009) Information skills
for education students. Exeter, Learning Matters. (025.524/RIC)
• Wyse, D. (2012) The good writing guide for education students.
3rd edition. London, SAGE. (808.042/WYS)