Sometimes just reading one article isn't enough. You only get one view, one small selection of the research available. Employing further reading around a topic can be invaluable, but it's often difficult to identify what you need to be looking for. See here for how to find the perfect resources to further your knowledge.

Identifying further reading

Further reading on any topic is always suggested despite even when it does not necessarily seem relevant. Further reading can give alternative perspectives, more subject or concept depth, points of critique and greater overall insight into your reading area. Whilst many institutions will suggest further reading it is rarely mandatory despite the fact that it often enables the learners to achieve higher grades and substantially greater, and more rounded knowledge of their topic area.

So, how do you identify appropriate further reading?

There are a few ways of doing so. Firstly, make use of the reference list as the pieces here informed and aided the construction of the literature at hand. Reading these articles/books etc. are useful as they demonstrate how the topics and concepts have formed and give further evidence of theme origins, also these pieces can enable you to better form opinions whether by aligning with the views expressed by the author or by contesting them. The reference list is an extremely valuable tool in expanding not only your topic knowledge but also the opinions of the original author.

The key flaw in most articles in that their reference list will usually contain articles that support their findings and opinions this means that you are being denied the full picture. Whilst academic articles are intended to be factual and informative concerning their topic, bias is almost always present as the author will actively seek supporting work that reinforces and cements their own beliefs and findings. If you have been critically reading the article you will have developed your own opinions and identified limitations of the author's work which you can utilize to search for articles that contest the article. Ensuring that you pull opinions from both sides of the article’s argument will help you to develop a bigger and fuller picture of the topic. You can do this by searching for articles using key terms within engines such as Google Scholar.

Further reading is an extremely useful tool to anyone truly aiming to develop their knowledge and understanding. If you are ever struggling with a topic, the issue most likely is not you, it’s the author’s writing. Use further reading to develop your understanding by using it to build on and fill in the gaps the original article may present. Once you see further reading for its true usefulness you can begin to expand your knowledge base and form truly informed opinions and understanding rather than just accepting the norm portrayed by a single author.

  • Be critical: do not take the articles authors opinions for gospel truth critique it and supplement your views with further reading, you may find that the original article isn’t as well informed as it is presented to be.
  • When searching for further reading do not rely on reference lists alone, use key concepts and terms to discover articles that can enable you to critique the topic from alternative perspectives.
  • Always aim to conduct further reading especially if you do not completely understand the topic as presented through a single author, use their references and alternative articles to inform your subject knowledge as this will empower you to be critical of said article