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Introduction to Reading in Biology


Welcome to Reading in Biology. This site is designed to assist you to develop the general and critical reading skills you need to help you with report writing.

The materials are organised into three Sections - Pre-reading strategies, General reading strategies, and Critical reading.
In creating this program, there are two main principles for effective reading that we have used to inform our design. They are:


Each discipline has its own way of constructing knowledge as well as its own way of writing up research.
In this program, we have used some of the example research articles you may need to read in order to write up your report.


In reading the research related to your topic you will have a specific purpose.

This purpose will be based on how much of the research literature you need to incorporate into your report. Questions you may ask yourself while you are reading are:

  • How can I get an overview of the research literature?
  • How much detail do I need to know about other research?
  • How can I be critical of published research?
  • How critical do I need to be of other research?

What you will learn from using the program:

After using the program, you should be able to understand:

  • the process of pre-reading
  • the overall structure and purpose of a research article
  • the purpose and structure of individual sections of a research article such as introduction, methods, discussion
  • how to read tables and figures
  • how to read for main ideas
  • the process of critical reading

How to use the program:

Use the Course Menu bar on the left and the Section title links in the footer to move between sections. After entering a Section, use the page numbers above the page footers to move between pages.

Note that Flash Player 7 or higher is required to view some of the interactive exercises.

For further assistance using this site or to provide feedback please contact Osu Lilje.

Now go on to the Pre-reading strategies section.