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Reading lists: a guide for students

Different styles of reading lists

You reading list may be organised:

  • in a weekly reading format, which give details of which book chapters and articles you need to read for each week’s lectures and seminars
  • by topic
  • by the key titles and resources that you are expected to use throughout the module

The amount of items included on the lists can vary between subject areas, and at different levels of study.  

Levels of importance or priority

Each item on your reading list should be annotated with essential, recommended or further reading. Your module tutors decide these annotations to indicate which resources are absolutely key to the module, and those that you will benefit from reading to widen your knowledge and understanding. 

Your reading lists will likely contain a mixture of these annotations, whilst some may just contain recommended reading if there are no absolutely essential resources. 

Essential reading

These are the key resources for the module, and link to your programme’s learning outcomes. They are the cornerstone of your learning and help you to understand, question and clearly communicate your subject. You will likely be required to use these books throughout the module, and possibly throughout your course.

Example of essential reading

Recommended reading

These are the resources that your module tutors believe will enhance your understanding of the module, giving depth and breadth to your knowledge by expanding on topics and themes, particularly those found in your essential reading, and helping you to further develop your critical thinking. 

An example of an item that is recommended reading

Further reading

These are additional titles, often relating to specific topics within the module, that your module tutors have identified as useful should you wish to develop specific knowledge, or have a particular interest in a topic. 

An example of an item that is further reading