Study Advice & Maths Support Moving up to higher education Exercises to help you prepare for higher education study Studying independently: Finding, selecting and evaluating resources Exercise 6: Reading abstracts This exercise aims to give you practice in identifying the key points of a report or article so that you can judge quickly whether it is relevant to your research. Find and read an abstract for a report or article (don’t read the whole report or article!). Briefly describe each of the following: the aim of the research described; the main methods used; the most important finding; how that finding related to the original aim. Here is an example. Title and abstract Aim of the research described Main methods used Dictionary use – the need to teach strategies This article reports on a small-scale introspective study of intermediate learners of German using bilingual and monolingual dictionaries for reading comprehension. It investigated which strategies the subjects used when looking up words in their dictionaries, whether strategy use is dependent on the type of dictionary, and where the subjects needed training in order to acquire more effective strategies. The thinkaloud data revealed a range of inappropriate strategies that resulted in the failure (a) to locate words in the dictionary, (b) to identify the suitable meaning of words with several meanings, and (c) to understand the meaning of unknown words. The findings underline previous claims that learners need systematic instruction in dictionary use. Three areas for strategy training are proposed. To provide further data to test previous claims about systematic instruction in dictionary use. Small-scale study, collecting and analysing data provided by students. (‘Introspective’ = reflective? ‘Think-aloud’ = spontaneous?) Most important finding/s Language learners tend to use inappropriate strategies when using dictionaries. How do findings relate to original aim? They confirm previous claims that learners need systematic instruction in dictionary use. These resources were developed by Study Advice & Maths Support, University of Reading (2010), made possible by funding from the VetNet Lifelong Learning Network. Educators are welcome to freely use and adapt the resources for their students: please acknowledge the original authors. More at www.reading.ac.uk/internal/studyadvice/NewtoUniversity/sta-newtouniversity.aspx.