Monday, 27 September 2010

How are you and books?

This might seem a little strange for a blog post from an academic and PhD student, but I'm thinking about...reading. You'd think I'd be one of those people who constantly reads - well, yes and no. 

Since I made the switch into my current Senior Lecturer role, my reading has gone off the scale (as it was) but I see the need for another gear shift. Experience tells me that it's not just about 'trying harder', so here's some thoughts about my engaging with reading for research:

  •  Be strategic: I / we often think we need to read every word of a book, slowly. Now I realise we need context, coherence and so on, but I might just be realistic and set out to read key chapters, perhaps returning if the material is useful. 
  • Make time: I have a busy life (don't we all!) with a full time busy teaching job, four children and so on. Reading (like writing, as I no doubt will find) won't just 'happen'. Even half an hour each lunchtime is a start alongside one or two hidden 'slots' of time - like a bus journey to a weekly meeting.
  • Have a plan: this is sort of about motivation - seeing the value in reading things. I won't waste time in random selections, but will keep sketching the literature review plan so I progressively focus on material that will inform the research questions.
  • Talk to people: I find it hard just to live inside my head - learning is also dialectic, so I need to talk ideas out to see others' angles on them and to develop my propositional knowledge. 
I am sure I'll come back to this - and that huge pile of books that's growing!