This chapter examines the relationship between research reading and writing considers different reading aims within a research project identifies problem areas related to text selection compares different ‘levels’ of reading, contrasting reading to understand and/or to summarize content with reading in order to respond to ideas via critical analysis considers specific reading-to-writing tasks, including summarizing, paraphrasing and critical notetaking Reading aims The first piece of general advice that supervisors give to PhD researchers is very often to ‘go away and read’. When such advice is given and received, it seems straightforward enough. But in practice, it can have very different meanings for different individuals. It can for some readers mean a green light that signals the starting point of a long and convoluted process of jumping from text to text, following a reference provided by one text leading to another – and then another. In this way it is possible for the reader to reach a point which is very far from where they first started without realizing precisely how this has happened. It can also mean unintentionally completing a circle or series of circles and returning to the point of departure. This type of process can be immensely frustrating: taken to extremes, it can also prove to be both ineffective and unproductive. My own experience of reading for a PhD in the early 1990s seems typical. My approach to reading was very simple: I calculated that if I summarized everything that I identified as important, I would inevitably have valuable material that could be used in my writing.
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- Managing Research Reading
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