Writing Resources

Is This Book Relevant to My Research? A Guide to Skimming

Step 1: Read the Table of Contents

The table of contents gives you a broad idea of what this book will cover. Even if you don't see your topic in the table of contents the book could still be useful, so don't give up after this step.

Step 2: Look Through the Index

The index is a list of all key terms and where they are located in the book. Check to see if terms associated with your topic are listed — and remember to check for similar words and phrases!

Step 3: Read the First Paragraph of Relevant Chapters

Once you find a chapter that looks important, read the first paragraph or two. This is where the author discusses their plan for the section.

Step 4: Read the Introduction

The introduction (or preface) has an overview of the author's ideas, methods and a more in-depth look at each chapter.

Step 5: Read Entire Chapters

If a chapter is relevant to your topic, read the entire thing!