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Best Length for a Reading List

The 2019 Sage Report, How are Students and Lecturers Using Educational Resources Today, surveyed students and academics and found some interesting responses.

  • 52% of students would rather have a list that contained few but well-defined sources (Sage, 2019, p. 11) rather than a very long list with lots of choices
  • Students commonly said they were overwhelmed with long lists
  • Academics also said they used short lists with a few items to act as a starting point and expected students to find additional literature using their own literature and searching skills (Sage, 2019, p.11)

Diversifying Reading Lists

A primary aim of the Library Strategy for 2021-2025 is to increase diversity in the Library's collections. To facilitate this inclusive collection building, we ask that academic staff consider the following when creating module reading lists:

  • can you include more readings by minority academics and scholars?
  • are these readings always optional or can some be made core?
  • can you ensure that readings by minority writers and scholars are not only included when the topic is about marginalised groups?
  • If this proves to be difficult, can you include readings about the lack of diverse representation in the subject area?
  • To assist academic staff, we have created a list of resources on the complex process of diversifying reading lists

The Library also welcomes suggestions for books on Equality, Diversity & Inclusion from students and staff. Please use our Suggest Books & Resources page.

Reading List Principles

These are some simple guidelines:

  • Have a clear reading list structure, with resources presented weekly, or by topic
  • Use annotations where needed, pointing out key sections or clarifying page numbers e.g., "Chapter 2 gives a good overview of this topic"
  • Set realistic expectations by indicating what is Core, Recommended, or Further Reading
  • Be realistic with the number of resources given, overly long lists can be overwhelming (see section below)
  • The list should be reviewed annually. Books on your list will not automatically update when there is a new edition so regular checking needs to take place

Reading List Usage

The View button on the Reading List Module Page contains an Analytics option where you can see how many times students have accessed each item on the reading list. This tool can help identify list items for review or removal.

Reading List Service

Tel: 091 49 2593