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Understand your reading list

As a student you will be doing a large amount of coursework reading. All course books at Södertörn University and The Swedish Red Cross University College may be borrowed from the library. We explain below how to use the reading list and answer some of the most common questions.

Reading list – an example

Baker, S. (2006). Sustainable Development. London: Routledge. 245 pages.

Meyer, D. Z. & Avery, L. M. (2010). A third use of sociology of scientific knowledge: a lens for studying teacher practice. Studies in Science Education, 46(2), p. 153-178.

Stake, R. E. (2008). Qualitative Case Studies. In: Denzin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y. S. (eds.) Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, p. 119-149.

Explanation of the reading list

Reading lists can vary between academic disciplines and different referencing systems. The example above is written according to the Harvard guide from Södertörn University Library (in Swedish only). It includes three common types of references – a book, an article from a journal and a chapter from an edited book.

In all three references, the author’s surname comes first, followed by the first name (sometimes only the initial of the first name). Thereafter the publication year, often in brackets. The rest of the information in the references varies depending on the type of publication.

The first example is a book.

  • The title of the book is in italics; this is to make it easier to see the title and to find the book.
  • Thereafter follow the publisher’s place and name.
  • You are often expected to read the whole book - in this case, page numbers are not included. However, sometimes the quantity of page numbers may be included in your reading list as in the example above.
  • Sometimes the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is included , a unique code to every book, which will help you to identify the book.

The second example is an article from a journal.

  • Please note that the title of the journal name is in italics and not the title of the article. This is to make it easier for the reader to quickly find the name of the journal in which the article is published. (In the past, when no electronic articles were available, you had to find the printed journal first and the look through the journal to locate the article).
  • The title is thereafter followed by the volume number and/or issue number of the journal. In the example above, no volume number is given as the journal only uses issue numbers.
  • Page numbers are always included for articles.
  • Sometimes the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is included, a unique number that is given to the document at the time of digital publishing, which makes it easier to locate the article.

The third example is a chapter from an edited book.

  • Please note that the title of the book is in italics and not the title of the chapter. This is to make it easier for the reader to find the book in which the chapter is written.
  • In: means that the chapter is included in a book that has been edited by Denzin and Lincoln.
  • In similarity to books with only one author, place and name of publisher are included.
  • Finally, page numbers are always included for book chapters.

Common questions

You will receive a reading list of all the suggested reading for all your courses. The list is often divided in compulsory and recommended reading. You are expected to read the compulsory reading while the recommended reading provides a deepening knowledge of the subject. Ask your teacher what is applicable on your course.

You don’t need to read the material in the order of the list. Follow instead the recommendations in your study or course manual where your teacher will describe what you need to have read before all the different lectures, seminars and assignments.

We can help you to get your course books in accessible formats. Read more on page Library help and support for students with a disability.

Some students buy all the suggested reading whereas others borrow the books in the library. The most common practice is probably a combination of the two, but you decide what you prefer to do. We would recommend that you come to the library first and look through a book before you decide to buy it.

In the library discovery tool SöderScholarexternal link, opens in new window, it is best to search for the title of the book when you want to find books or a chapter of a book. When you search for articles, we recommend that you type in the title of the article or alternatively type in the title of the journal name and then you need to find and select the specific volume and issue number of the journal.

Read more about how to find library resources.

If you have any questions about finding your coursework material, please contact the library.


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