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Understanding the structure of a text

Understanding the structure of a text helps you to get a general idea or understanding of what the text is about, its specific contents, how it is organised and whether it suitable for your needs.

Understanding the structure of a textbook

To gain an understanding of a textbook's content and structure, you should look at the Table of Contents. Areas to look at include:

  • main parts
  • sections
  • chapters
  • chapter topics
  • headings & subheadings
  • diagrams & charts.

Understanding the structure of an article

To understand the structure of an article or other reading, look at the following sections:

  • abstract (will provide an outline of the article)
  • sections
  • headings / sub-headings
  • charts & diagrams.

Determine relevance

To determine if the text contains relevant information, you should ask yourself questions such as:

  • What do I already know about this topic?
  • What do I need to know about this topic?
  • Can I find what I need to know in the Table of Contents, the index or through the structure of the reading?
  • Are there specific areas, eg chapter or sub-headings, that match what I need to know?


Activity 1



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