what’s all this reading about then – starting the PhD


When you begin the PhD you will be told to read, and read a lot. But you’ll find not any old approach to reading will do. It’s a particular kind of reading that’s expected. So it’s important to get a grip on the complex task that you are being asked to do. In the first instance your reading helps you to:

  • Scope the field or fields that you are in, so that you understand what is relevant to your topic, and what is not. You also need to get clear on the “core” of your discipline(s) and its threshold concepts – the ideas that anybody doing any topic in the discipline, including you, need to take account of. Knowing them also means you can understand and join in the conversations in your disciplinary community.

  • Map the field in relation to your particular topic so you can see key themes, major…

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