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Finding books & journals: Your reading list

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“Think before you speak. Read before you think”

Fran Lebowitz, The Fran Lebowitz reader

This page explains some key aspects of your module reading lists, which are critical starting points for your study and research.

Reading priority tags

Wondering why many of the items in your reading list are marked with reading priority tags? All is explained below.

The University uses Reading priority tags (previously called levels of importance) in Reading lists at Hull

The tags guide you through the sources by indicating which are the most critical to successfully acquiring and understanding disciplinary knowledge. The three reading priority tags explained below.

Essential Reading

Essential Readings form the basis for successful exploration and critical analysis of the subject matter and are critical in the development of your ability to understand, question and clearly communicate knowledge to a diverse audience and in so doing realize module and programme learning outcomes or competencies.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Readings are supplementary resources that expand on the topics and themes found in “Essential” items and allow you to successfully to explore further and exercise critical thinking.

Background Reading

Background Readings are not critical to achieving module or programme learning outcomes or competencies.

The more extensively you read and critically engage with resources across all three levels of importance the richer your disciplinary knowledge will become, and the stronger your arguments within your assessments. The Knowledge Management Framework can help you to do this.

Suggest-a-purchase service

Reading lists at Hull is likely to be the main way you will find resources in your first few trimesters at University. As you progress through your studies and research you may need to use sources that are not immediately available in the Library.

You can find more information about this on our Can't find it page.

Students can contribute to the development of our collections by using the Suggest-a-purchase service. This is a good way to help decolonise and diversify the Library's collections.

How is my reading list created?

Have you ever thought about how your reading list was created?

Sitting at a computer

Reading lists are integral to your modules

Your teaching staff create the reading list during the process of developing the module. This is because the resources are integral to how you are taught, what you need to learn, and the skills you need to develop

You can see some of the factors they consider in the Key considerations for course design section of the Knowledge Management Framework.

Listing tasks

Reading lists at Hull

Having selected the resources, teaching staff add them into the module list in Reading lists at Hull.

Unfortunately, the Library isn't always able to provide access to everything, and we explain some of the reasons in our FAQ. When that happens, teaching and Library staff discuss the options to decide which will best support you.

a computer with literature

What the Library does

When teaching staff have created or revised a list in Reading lists at Hull, the Library checks everything with a reading priority tag to see:

  • if the title is already in our print collections, do we have enough copies?
  • is an eBook available, and on what licence?
  • is a newer edition available?
  • for shorter readings, e.g. a chapter or article, can we provide a legal, accessible scan via the Digital Content Store?

If we can't provide something on a list, we'll let the teaching staff know and discuss the options available.


Reviewing and updating

How often a list is reviewed depends on several factors, including the subject covered & how it is taught.

A list may be reviewed once a year, to remove old references and add new ones. Or your teaching staff may add new resources more often, perhaps to include important new publications, or to respond to a rapidly changing subject, for example in health or science.

Computer with checklist and calendar

Your reading list

Your reading list should help you to understand some of the expectations on you as a student: what to read, when, which publications are the most important, etc.

You will also find it useful to refer to the SkillsGuide for Knowledge Management, a set of critical academic practices.