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Postgraduate Study

Reading and note making

Reading is a key requirement of postgraduate study. This page is designed to help you make your reading time more productive.

Reading and Notemaking in Postgraduate Study

Reading and Note-making
for a Postgraduate Assignment

Bibliographic details

Author/Year/ Title/Journal title/Book title/ Webpage title /
City of publication / Publishing company / Web address /
Volume / issue / page nos / etc.

Main points of text

Type of text
Type of study
Approach / theoretical basis
Main findings
Themes, issues
Main conclusions

Identifying connections and underlying patterns

Links with other research
Who else writes about this?
Common threads
Distinctive features

Your comments

Comments - your response, reflections on your professional experience, etc
Questions - what do you want to know more about?
Which sources does the writer refer to that could be worth looking up?


Strength of the study overall
Usefulness for your purpose
weaknesses of the study overall
Why not so revelation for your purpose

Critical reading questions

Click here for a useful list of questions to help you think critically about your reading.

Stages in reading

Reading for assignments often involves two stages:

  1. Skimming the key information quickly to check if the journal article, web article, or book is relevant to your needs. Here you can use the parts of the text: title, abstract (if there is one), introductory paragraphs, headings, and conclusion to see if the text is going to be useful for your purpose.
  2. Focusing on particular relevant sections and reading them in depth – probably taking on notes on key points, noting page numbers and adding the reference to a list of references on Mendeley or Zotero.

Reading and notemaking

Reading and Notemaking Software

Useful resource