Reading and Library Research
The amount of reading which is expected in most courses, and especially in Arts and Social Science courses, presents difficulties for many students. At school students were accustomed to reading only two or three short chapters for their regular assignments. Suddenly they fine are expected to work their way through much extensive and much more difficult reading every week for tutorials and essays.
They complain, `There is too much to get through up reading it all with my eyes but nothing is going into my he head. I read it so slowly it takes hours to finish even one article. And then I can't remember what it was all about, so I have to start all again!'
Also, in many courses there are frustrating problems in getting hold of the recommended books and articles in the library. In a large course with four hundred students there are seldom sufficient copies of key books to meet the sudden dem and before an essay deadline. Such books are usually only available for restricted bo rrowing in a Short Loan system; you may only borrow the book for a short period, usually two hours, and may not take it out of library.
So you need to develop reading strategies which make it possible to get the main points from a book within a very limited You must also develop a method for making notes which can be used later for your essay or tutorial.
And in all university courses you need to read critically. This means learning to recognize and select the information that is relevant to your purpose. Are you reading to gather specific facts for a report or essay? Are you reading to check that there are no alternative theories or interpretations to challenge your argument? Are you looking for useful quotations? Or legal precedents in law reports? Critical reading, then, is only possible if you have a clear purpose for your reading.