Reading Research for Writing: Co-Constructing Core Skills Using Primary Literature
Keywords:critical reading skills, categorical reading method, doctoral education, reading for writing, sociocultural theory, social collaborative annotation
Synthesizing academic literature into new knowledge through writing is a core skill that doctoral students engaged in research must learn. However, developing efficacy in synthesis skills as an academic writer is a culturally and cognitively demanding process that occurs over many years, requires abstraction, and draws upon critical reading skills. Doctoral reading is an invisible part of training, despite large reading loads in doctoral coursework. Further, reading, writing, and researching skills are co-constructed at the doctoral level as previously described by Kwan (2008). The purpose of this essay is to describe how the primary author used her experience as an EdD student, science teacher, and writer to develop a method that addresses doctoral reading challenges. The novel method described here combines categorical reading strategies with social collaborative annotation (SCA). This method centers on active, categorial reading to deconstruct arguments in the primary literature by identifying claim, evidence, reasoning, implications, and context (CERIC), which can serve as a critical reading pedagogy in existing courses, reading clubs, and seminars. Combining CERIC with SCA tools—ranging from homemade variations of Google Suite to purposeful annotation software, such as Hypothes.is.—can support an efficient doctoral reading process. This essay illustrates several worked examples and explores how this process supports retrieval, engagement, collaboration, inclusion, and community, particularly in online learning environments. Significant implications of this work are to make hidden reading expectations explicit and transform professor-centered transmission models of learning to student-centered sociocultural models of learning. The essay proposes next steps for testing the approach's effectiveness in online doctoral learning.
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