Petre & Rugg (2010). Reading.

Petre, M., & Rugg, G. (2010). Reading. In The Unwritten Rules Of PhD Research (pp. 67–85). McGraw-Hill International.

[“Why read?” … 68]

  • “Mastering the literature: discovering what has been discussed and what hasn’t, what is known and what isn’t, what the major strands of thinking are and how they have evolved
  • Mapping the community: identifying who the key researchers are and how they interrelate
  • Identifying your niche: finding the gap that you hope to fill, understanding its relationship to the rest of the literature and identifying the publications most relevant to your project” (p 68)

“Most established researchers have a core repertoire of 100 to 150 works on which they can draw readily. … a selection of pertinent literature accessible in memory …” (p 69)

“In your own field, you should read in depth and in breadth and in time — you should have a detailed knowledge of the relevant literature in your chosen area, and a general knowledge of the main work in related areas, and of previous work in your area for as far back as possible.” (p 70)

[“Finding the right references: where do I start?” … 71]

“… literature reviews in the papers you’ve already read, about review articles
and about the literature reviews in passed dissertations in your area.” (p 71)

“… where researchers in your discipline publish. What are the key publishers, book series, journals, conferences, symposia, workshops or meetings?” (p 71)

[“Online searching” … 72]

[“Other sources of information” … 76]

“… overview from a textbook, which will list relevant articles in its bibliography, and an even better idea to get an overview from a review paper or from a recent encyclopaedia.” (p 76)

[“Review articles” …]

“… an excellent way of finding the key references to start your work; those key references will usually include references for earlier literature reviews, allowing you to work back through the years. They’re also invaluable as supporting references for some key points which may otherwise be very awkward. For instance, if a review article says that there hasn’t been enough work on a particular topic and you’re doing your PhD on that topic, then the review article gives you an authoritative justification for your choice. Without that reference you’d have to make the claim yourself that there hadn’t been enough previous work, and that’s a difficult claim to substantiate without a very solid knowledge of the field, which a new PhD student is unlikely to have.” (p 77)

[“Reading between the lines of a paper or dissertation” … 77]

[“Abstract” … ]

“What do the authors claim to have done, and what do they claim to have found?” (p 78)

[“First page of introduction” …]

“Do the authors give a clear overview of what problem they’re investigating, and why they’re investigating it? Do the authors refer to the key literature and key concepts relating to this topic?” (p 78)

[“References” …]

“What sort of references are the authors citing? … What are the dates of the references? …” (p 78)

“Is the main text reasonably clear?” (p 78)

“Is the text complete? … What are their conclusions? … Do their conclusions pass the ‘So what?’ test for whether you should bother reading this paper?” (p 79)

[“Literature reviews” … 79]

“At the heart of your literature review is a good plot.” (p 80)

“Bridging text is used to join two sections of a paper or other document. It usually consists of a closing paragraph or two at the end of a section, summarizing that section, telling the reader what will be in the next section and explaining how the previous section leads on to the next section.” (p 81)

[“Using material from the literature” … 81]

[“Keeping an annotated bibliography” … 82]

[“… should include …”: ]

  • “The usual bibliographic information (i.e. everything you might need to
    cite the work and find it again).
  • The date when you read the work.
  • Notes on what you found interesting/seminal/infuriating/etc. about it. … they should reflect your own critical thinking about your reading.” (p 83)

[“Table 6.2 Reading habits of lifelong readers” …]

  • “Steady consumption. The idea is not so much to read voraciously as to read regularly. Use a tortoise strategy, rather than a hare.
  • Keep an annotated bibliography — and keep it up to date.” (p 85)
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