A multi-sensory approach for Higher Education Business Students: Using colour in the reading process to analyse academic writing

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The paper shows a simple yet highly effective approach to the reading and analyses of academic papers and writings for business students. While there is much in the literature about students completing their own academic writing, and books and video support to show them how to achieve this, there is little published research which outlines or helps students to read, analyse and understand academic resources and use them effectively. This can be particularly problematic for new undergraduate business students, as academic business journals present in a wide range of topics, styles, and methods. This article demonstrates how a multi-sensory approach to reading, highlighting, consolidating, and organising information, when faced with reading multiple sources from journal articles, can be enhanced, through the careful use of colour.
This process was originally devised to support dyslexic students but has now proved popular when used with newer students, in helping to theme sourced information of significance to their studies. It helps them to identify, organise and cross-check its relevance, and is particularly useful to students doing their first literature review. By showing the use of multi-sensory methods using visual cues, for example, the use of highlighter colours, the approach enables the black and white text found in journal articles to be enhanced, using a colour pallet and coding system. This process highlights words, sentences, figures, and information of significance helps students to navigate long articles, such as a journal paper, and use them effectively to enhance the quality of their own written work. The process of using coloured highlighters as part of a learning style will be explored and will be demonstrated, showing the impact it offers for organising information, and thoughts, in preparation for inclusion into a literature review or written assignment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-100
JournalEducational Futures
Issue number1
Early online date6 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2022


  • Colours
  • Coding
  • Journal Articles
  • Highlighting
  • Themes
  • Reading
  • Multi-Sensory
  • Organisation
  • Literature Review


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