Academic Literature Review Challenge

During this week, you will have the chance to hear from a range of academics about their research and ongoing projects. One thing all of these academics have in common is that they read a lot around their subject area, to stay informed of recent developments, and to learn more about their respective fields.

What is Academic Reading?

Academic reading is different to reading simply for pleasure, as when we read academically we engage critically with the literature. Engaging critically with literature means: considering the type of literature you are reading; thinking about whether the literature is biased; evaluating the evidence presented to see how the author has drawn these conclusions (and if you agree!); and also bearing in mind any limitations of the literature.

Engaging with literature in this way is important for building in-depth subject knowledge, and developing your critical thinking skills. You may already be reading your textbooks, the news, or other information sources academically – questioning them as you go.

What is Academic Literature?

When you study a subject at university, you will often be asked to read different kinds of literature, such as journal articles (short academic articles about very specific topics), or primary (immediate, first-hand accounts of a topic) or secondary (works that analyse, assess or interpret an historical event, era, or phenomenon) sources and literature.

As these are new types of literature to many students, it can take a while to learn how to read them, and then a little longer to learn how to read them academically. This series will introduce you to the kinds of literature and research that you may be introduced to in your field, and give you step-by-step guidance to reading these materials, and thinking about them critically.

Your Challenge

As the types of academic literature you encounter can vary across subjects, you will have a choice of learning about academic literature in English, Geography or Medicine – you should pick the subject with material most similar to your subject area (for example, for ‘History’, you should pick the English series).

The series will guide you through the importance of academic literature, describe the sections of a journal article or piece of literature that you should think about, and also discuss how to engage with this material critically – not all published research is created equal!

Each day there will be one video and a set of tasks to help guide you through. At the end of the week, you will be asked to read one journal article or literature piece for yourself, and then review this in 300-500 words.

Click below to choose your series: