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YOUR NEEDS? Reading a lot – jumping around from topic to topic

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1 YOUR NEEDS? Reading a lot – jumping around from topic to topic
Supervisor advice: read and summarise! Analysing what I have done (research; creative project) Pointers on how to synthesise the many different sources of information Writing everyday is a challenge Need techniques for reading scholarly articles What to put in, what to leave out, choosing which angle? No end to the reading, so many different directions, am interested in them all – don’t want to miss out! How to achieve meaningful (and perhaps more efficient) reading Structuring how one idea flows on to the next idea Panicking, feeling overwhelmed

2 Research Reading/Writing UTS Library Research Week 2013
3pm- 5pm February 5, 2013

Reading and Writing for your Research:  Getting started Abstracts & Introductions:  Getting the 'Moves' The Literature Review:  Mapping & Organising your Research Reading The Literature Review:  Conceptualising your Research Reading Thesis/Dissertation Organisation across Disciplines The Doctorate in Creative Arts:  The Exegesis Writing Groups and Peer-Editing Circles (Develop your writing!) Making Formal Spoken Presentations on your Research (Session 1) Making Formal Spoken Presentations on your Research (Session 2)

Different traditions, conventions and ways of thinking have developed in different areas of knowledge over the years. Academic discourse differs from discipline to discipline. You will key into those conventions as you read, read, read, and then read some more, and then start to write, write, and write using them. There are some common patterns that you need to understand, and key into, especially at the early stages of your research reading.

What kinds of reading and writing do we have to do in academic contexts? Why do we write them? (what general purposes are we trying to carry out when we write in academic contexts?)

Narrative Expository Persuasive Procedural/Instructional Descriptive Analytic/Critical

Your own purpose is reflected in the research question you are asking, or your project, which is to do with: the problematising the question being asked the set of research articles the creative work being produced YOU HAVE TO READ WIDELY AND DEEPLY

8 A QUICK EXERCISE Handout: Categorise the list of words into groups – give each group a name. Draw a diagram to represent the conceptual structuring of this topic (What is the overall topic?) You have 10 minutes maximum. Finished? Have a quick chat (3 mins) about what you have done in pairs. Justify your drawing.

9 RESEARCH READING As preparation for this workshop you were asked to make a list of 20 or more key terms (descriptors) that are relevant to your research question or area. These are important for building up your reading list for your Literature Review These are important for your area of research reading These are important for ways that you choose to organise your reading

Visual representation to help you understand categories of information and how they relate to each other in your area of research reading What are some different types of concept organisers? mind map (shows relationships to central idea) tree or branch diagram (shows categories & hierarchies) flow chart (shows progression in a process) table or matrix (shows placement of items along two axes)

Branch diagram Mind map TOPIC IDEA

TOPIC Topic A Subtopic Aa Sub-sub topic Aaa Sub-sub topic Aab Sub-sub topic Aac Subtopic Ab Subtopic Ac Topic B Subtopic Ba Subtopic Bb

ADD to your list of 20 or more key terms (descriptors) that are relevant to your research question or area. Make an hierarchical diagram which represents a conceptual map of the categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub categories in your research area. If you think of new words as you go along, add them in too or, if there are concepts you do not want to use, then don’t (don’t be restricted by your list). Then show, discuss & compare them in pairs

14 Now you are collecting readings, how can you READ them? Get a SYSTEM

15 What can you do to read with a purpose for your
HOW? The Process Reading with a purpose What can you do to read with a purpose for your RESEARCH FOCUS CREATIVE PROJECT exegesis INVESTIGATIVE QUESTION?

Focus on your purpose before, during and after reading. Evaluate your sources before and while you read Read at the MICRO-level Read at the MACRO-level

17 READING STRATEGIES Read with different skills for different purposes:
Previewing (look at the title, keywords, flip through) Skimming (for an overview) Scanning (to locate specific information or ideas) Close reading (to extract certain detail) Reading analytically (text structure, categories, hierarchies) Reading critically (connecting new information to what you already know)

18 Reading analytically to organise what you read
LOGICALLY: Using the reading (text) structure Making judgements about the significance Looking for categories, hierarchies, arguments and organising them around your research area or investigative question or exegesis.

19 [READING] ACADEMIC WRITING it’s not just sentences
Note the headers and sub-headings, and note bold and slightly larger fonts, or italics. These are visual cues to information-structure and important information, and can help the reader to flip back if needed. Diagrams/images: are not just inserted; use them to gain a macro-view, and as a guide to specifics.

20 Summarising and paraphrasing
HOW? THE BASIC EXTRACTION SKILLS Summarising and paraphrasing Two of the main ways for you to extract information. When reading you have a purpose in mind – which is? You use the skill of focussing on the relevant issues You leave out unrelated information. These two skills are very different, and require a different set of sub-skills.

21 The Basics: to summarise means that you
condense the relevant information or ideas - end up with a summary shorter than the original text, but retrievable. organise the information: use the original text, or develop your own format. use your own words cite and give the reference.

22 The Basics: to paraphrase means that you
report on the information so that the full meaning is reproduced. produce a piece of writing of the same length as (maybe longer than) the original reading use your own words cite and give the reference

23 Special points to note about this process:
Specialist terms or theoretical categories or vocabulary are almost impossible to write in your own words. Some specialist terms or theoretical categories are in the common ‘canon’ or general knowledge. It may be difficult to find your own words to express the ideas or information written by others (especially if your native language is not English) - but read carefully and try to understand the original text.

24 Organise your notes-taking around these ideas?
THE USEFULNESS OF ABSTRACTS: When you write (or speak) you move meanings around for a purpose. Academic writing also follows a clear sequence of moves or stages. Here they are: 1. Area under investigation / Significance of the area 2. Problem addressed 3. Aims / Methodology used 4. Results or Outcomes 5. Implications of outcomes Organise your notes-taking around these ideas?

25 AN EXAMPLE: a research funding proposal abstract Mining multiple information sources can provide rich knowledge which is difficult to discover by mining single data sources. (reason for doing the work - significance) Comparing and collaborating multi-source data for mining are critical. (problem or need addressed) This project aims to systematically investigate the theoretical foundations and practical solutions for mining multiple information sources (methodology suggested?), with the objective of delivering a unified multi-source collaborative and comparative mining framework (results). The expected outcomes are: (1) establishing the theoretical foundations for this emerging data mining research area, (2) benefiting key application areas, such as bioinformatics, business intelligence, and security informatics, and (3) helping maintain Australia's leading role in data mining research. (implications of outcomes)

26 THE INTRODUCTION A pattern of general to specific information:
background/context description of the entity/system/organisational phenomenon definitions/explanations of key terms indication of significance of the field or area of study/examination issues/problems/needs in the field specific focus of the paper, related to the above (in major or lengthy work, this also includes the staging of the content) It is designed to ORIENTATE the readers and give them a ‘roadmap’ of the research article (or your dissertation).

27 READING STRATEGIES Read with different skills for different purposes: Previewing (look at the title, keywords, flip through) Skimming (for an overview) Scanning (to locate specific information or ideas) Close reading (to extract certain detail) Reading analytically (text structure, categories, hierarchies) Reading critically (connecting new information to what you already know)

28 Let’s take a different angle …. Some questions …
What is analysis? What does it mean to analyse a text and collected information? How can we then be ‘critical’ of a text and collected information?

29 WHAT IS ANALYSIS? Understanding how the whole is made up of parts
Deciding on what the essential elements are Understanding how the parts are related Understanding which parts are missing

You need to read analytically while you are reading descriptively for your Lit Review. You need to make connections between the descriptions, and ask more developed critical or analytical questions of your reading. What gives you the right to be critical of others’ work?

31 Reading CRITICALLY means
to make judgments: The truth, merit, relevance, effectiveness, breadth, contribution of something to a particular field [or your area of investigation]. Comes from an understanding of its informational structure. Information is connected to what you already know or have read previously. Then you’ll be able to reflect on the validity and significance of information and ideas.

32 How do you do get to that ‘critical’ stage?
You need to keep on READING. You need to BUILD UP YOUR BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE You need to keep on READING You need to develop a SYSTEM with your READING

33 DO YOU HAVE A SYSTEM? Here are some different types of ways to organise your reading: General focus questions A generalised three-stage method Annotated bibliography Use Notecards, EndNote for organising notes

34 SYSTEM 1: Descriptive Questions for Reading/Writing for Research
To read and then write at a level expected for research work, you need to develop & use descriptive modes of ENQUIRY skills as you read. The key to this is to pay close attention to details ….. How? by asking descriptively focussed questions.

To work at this descriptive stage, you need to question your academic reading as you interact with it. Generally-speaking, you need to ask: What? Where? Who? When? How? Why?

For example, in reading a research article, these could be: Who wrote the article and what are the author’s qualifications? When was it written? Who is the article for? Why was the study carried out? What is the author’s main point, or thesis? How has the author collected the data? What results were found? What relevant sources does the author use? What limits did the author place on the study? What aspects of this study are relevant to your research question/area?

These initial questions are simply descriptive or even superficial, aimed at identificational and informational aspects of the research, theory, paper, project etc. being read and written about. This is the essential first stage of your Lit Review reading (for example), and it can lead to many, many excellent descriptive summaries …. but while you are building 300+ of these what should you be doing?

What is it? It is a systematic review and record of all significant literature that you have sourced and read. It is designed to remind you of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources you have read and cited. Supervisors can set this as a task to be sure that sustained and informational/evaluative reading is carried out in a timely manner.

39 SYSTEM 3: Using Notecards/EndNote
A researcher’s experience: “I did notecards for my thesis. I kept them all in a black box, organized by chapter and then by section. It seemed to work well. I also take notes on everything I read (for my studies) in one of my notebooks. Things get copied down a couple (or a few) times, but by the time I sit down to write, I know my research really well.” Source:

40 A researcher’s EndNote experience:
“I used to use notecards, but ran into problems when I needed the same notecard for different projects simultaneously. So I started using Endnote--it's basically just a big database, but it really helps to organize all of your notes. You can use Endnote to essentially create notecards, but then you can add keywords and you can search through them, so it makes it much easier to work on multiple projects. Endnote also automatically generates footnotes and bibliographies for your papers--I find that this saves me a whole day of work on a 20-page paper.” Source:

What do your read first? Where do you start? What parts of a reading text or article can you use? Here are some suggested headings: Key words Abstract Author/institution Publication/citation details/date References to note/follow up Key theories/methods/findings What is relevant to my research question/research area?

42 APPLICATION TASKS Using your 2 research articles :
Using previewing, skimming and scanning, construct two diagrams which represent the basic information structure of the articles. (see next slide) Compare the two diagrams and note where the two articles have some kind of informational overlap (where they treat the same topic, but perhaps from different angles). AND/OR Using any of the ideas from this workshop which suit you, read the articles using what we have covered (questions, annotations, notecards etc.). BOTH: If you finish, discuss what you have done, how, and why with someone else.

TOPIC Topic A Subtopic Aa Sub-sub topic Aaa Sub-sub topic Aab Sub-sub topic Aac Subtopic Ab Subtopic Ac Topic B Subtopic Ba Subtopic Bb

44 General questions and answers
FINAL DISCUSSION General questions and answers

Topic Sentences A topic sentence is a brief sentence that identifies the main point that will be addressed in the paragraph. It is usually the first sentence of a paragraph. In a well-written piece of writing, if you read the topic sentences you can often gain a good understanding of the content of the writing which follows. Especially good when reading a textbook for background.

What does it do? It briefly describes and/or appraises the sources. For describing: annotations usually summarise the subject of the source outline the author’s argument, methodology and conclusions. For appraising: annotations may focus on the author’s argument (persuasive? didactic?) the reliability of the evidence, its relationship to other critics its contribution to the field of research

47 SYSTEM 2: The ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Suggested strategies
I. INITIAL READING A. Author Author's credentials; institutional affiliation; educational background, past writings, or experience? Degree of cross citation? B. Date of Publication Too old? C. Edition or Revision A first edition or revised and updated to reflect changes in knowledge. D. Publisher Scholarly: university or commercial? Refereed; conference proceedings? E. Title of Journal Scholarly or a popular journal?

48 Students, academics, researchers? B. Objective Reasoning
Adapted from: II. CONTENT ANALYSIS A. Intended Audience Students, academics, researchers? B. Objective Reasoning Information valid and well-researched? Ideas and arguments in line with other works you have read on the same topic? Author objective and impartial? C. Coverage Updates other sources, substantiates other readings, adds new information? Extensively or marginally cover your topic? Material primary or secondary in nature? D. Writing Style Organized logically? Main points clearly presented? Text easy to read, or turgid? Author's argument: repetitive? E. Evaluative Reviews Look for these in libraries and on-line.

49 SYSTEM 3: The three pass method
The first pass A quick scan to for a global view of the paper. The following steps are used: Carefully read the title, abstract, and introduction Read the section and sub-section headings, but ignore everything else Read the conclusions Glance over the references, mentally ticking off the ones you’ve already read Adapted from Keshav, S. ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review 83 Volume 37, Number 3, July 2007, p.83-4

50 SYSTEM 3: The three pass method
At the end of the first pass, you should have information on: Category: What type of paper is this? A measurement paper? An analysis of an existing system? A description of a research prototype? Context: Which other papers is it related to? Which theoretical bases were used to analyze the problem? Correctness: Do the assumptions appear to be valid? Contributions: What are the paper’s main contributions? Clarity: Is the paper well written? You may choose not to read further. The first pass is adequate for papers that aren’t in your research area, but may someday prove relevant. 

51 SYSTEM 3: The three pass method
The second pass Greater reading care is used here, but ignores details such as proofs. It helps to jot down the key points, or to make comments in the margins, as you read. Look carefully at the figures, diagrams and other illustrations in the paper. Pay special attention to graphs. Are the axes properly labeled etc. ? Common mistakes will separate rushed, shoddy work from the truly excellent. Remember to mark relevant unread references for further reading (this is a good way to learn more about the background of the paper). Adapted from Keshav, S. ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review 83 Volume 37, Number 3, July 2007, p.83-4

52 SYSTEM 3: The three pass method
The second pass After this pass, you should be able to grasp the content of the paper. You should be able to summarize the main thrust of the paper, with supporting evidence, to someone else. This level of detail is appropriate for a paper in which you are interested, but does not lie in your research specialty. You can now choose to: set the paper aside for later digestion (b) return to the paper later, perhaps after reading background material, (c) persevere and go on to the third pass. Adapted from Keshav, S. ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review 83 Volume 37, Number 3, July 2007, p.83-4

53 SYSTEM 3: The three pass method
The third pass This pass requires great attention to detail. You should: identify and challenge every assumption in every statement. try to think about how you yourself would present a particular idea (this comparison of the actual with your own idea lends a sharp insight into the proof and presentation techniques). jot down ideas for future work. be able to reconstruct the entire structure of the paper from memory identify its strong and weak points. be able to pinpoint implicit assumptions, missing citations to relevant work, and potential issues with experimental or analytical techniques

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