Introduction to reading

Reading is what most researchers spend a lot of time doing. It is a lot quicker to learn from a large number of other people than have to do it all yourself!

Like a lot of academic work, how different academics read research papers might be regarded as another instance of secret academic business.

What you read matters a great deal.

Getting a grasp on the important/influential journals in the areas in which you are working can be tricky given that Education is probably better seen as an aggregation of loosely related fields.

Equally important is to allow yourself to read more widely. Fields of intellectual work often tend to conform to well-established patterns and take on a kind of conservatism.

As we do with any reading task, we make sense of what we read in terms of what we have already read or think we know. When it comes to making sense of the massive amount of papers that might inform a particular study, it is important to establish where the paper fits within the terrain of the field in which you think it belongs.

Education has always been a derivative field, i.e. it tends to borrow heavily from parent disciplines like psychology, sociology, anthropology etc. This makes it a bit tricky working out where to draw the line of what you should or should not be reading. Your supervisor will be helpful here but you also need to explore and map the terrain for yourself. The tricky part is that new publications and even new kinds of publications emerge frequently in a digital space that offers increasing options and possibilities for communication1.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License