Reading academic texts

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This powerpoint was used to help frame a roughly 45 minute conversation about how to read social science texts for my p544, Applied Cognition and Learning Strategies course. In this course we are examining both cognitive and sociocultural theories of learning and so this presentation was geared towards exploring our growing understanding of those theoretical frameworks as well as providing some concrete tips for those who are new to the discipline and / or graduate school as they struggle with how to effectively read primary source material.

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Reading academic texts

  1. 1. Reading in the Social Sciences<br />One Set of Cognitive and Sociocultural Interpretations<br />
  2. 2. First, take a minute and jot down some notes<br />Pick your preferred theoretical framework<br />How might it examine reading a paper for this course?<br />
  3. 3. A Cognitive Analysis<br />The reading<br />Abstract<br />Situative…<br />Situative Cognition<br />Individual cognitive approach<br />Interactional approaches<br />Individual cognitive approach<br />Interactional approaches<br />Example…<br />Tip 1: Use the text as an “advance organizer”<br />Tip 2: Use the abstract and summaries as a guide<br />
  4. 4. A Cognitive Analysis Continued<br />Some other key ideas:<br /><ul><li>The task isn’t just recall
  5. 5. Distributed cognition
  6. 6. Prior knowledge
  7. 7. Metacognition
  8. 8. Problem solving
  9. 9. Assimilation and Accomodation</li></ul>Tip 3: Remember the task and timeframe (develop understanding over the entire semester)<br />Situative…<br />Individual cognitive approach<br />Interactional approaches<br />Example…<br />
  10. 10. A Cognitive Analysis Continued<br />Some other key ideas:<br /><ul><li>The task isn’t just recall
  11. 11. Distributed cognition
  12. 12. Prior knowledge
  13. 13. Metacognition
  14. 14. Problem solving
  15. 15. Assimilation and Accomodation</li></ul>Tip 4: Use the syllabus to frame the topics<br />Syllabus<br />Framing<br />Key terms<br />Situative…<br />Individual cognitive approach<br />Interactional approaches<br />Tip 5: (also) develop notes and highlighting for referring back to<br />Example…<br />
  16. 16. A Cognitive Analysis Continued<br />Some other key ideas:<br /><ul><li>The task isn’t just recall
  17. 17. Distributed cognition
  18. 18. Prior knowledge
  19. 19. Metacognition
  20. 20. Problem solving
  21. 21. Assimilation and Accomodation</li></ul>Tip 6: focus on your understanding<br />Wiki<br />reflection<br />Recap, frame, extend, contrast <br />Notes<br />Situative…<br />Gist?<br />Individual cognitive approach<br />Cognitive reading<br />Key relationships / differences<br />Interactional approaches<br />Clarification<br />Example…<br />Other readings<br />
  22. 22. A Cognitive Analysis Continued<br />Some other key ideas:<br /><ul><li>The task isn’t just recall
  23. 23. Distributed cognition
  24. 24. Prior knowledge
  25. 25. Metacognition
  26. 26. Problem solving
  27. 27. Assimilation and Accomodation</li></ul>Tip 7: Use other texts / people’s ideas to expand your understanding<br />Wiki<br />reflection<br />Recap, frame, extend, contrast <br />Notes<br />Situative…<br />Gist?<br />Individual cognitive approach<br />Cognitive reading<br />Key relationships / differences<br />Interactional approaches<br />Clarification<br />Example…<br />Other readings<br />
  28. 28. A sociocultural analysis<br />Tip 8: Focus on your object (e.g., how you will want to change and use these ideas)<br />Tip 8: Make sure the text is a tool, not the object<br />Tools (the text)<br />subject<br />object<br />
  29. 29. A sociocultural analysis<br />Tip 9: Focus on the community and distribution of labor<br />Tools (the text)<br />subject<br />object<br />Rules<br />Distribution of labor<br />Community<br /><ul><li>Who is this written for?
  30. 30. Who is your community?
  31. 31. Note how interactions in class and with peers can help / extend your understanding?
  32. 32. Can you communicate your ideas?</li></li></ul><li>A sociocultural analysis<br />Tip 10a: find / create other tools (mediators) as needed (charts, tables, web resources, colleagues, etc.)<br />Tip 10b: change your tools as you change, as your object shifts (also consider revisiting some)<br />Tip 10c: think about the tools that will help you engage with later objects (final paper)<br />Tip 10d: the community and distribution of labor should / does include the professor<br />Tip 10: …all that distributed cognition “stuff”<br />Tip 10d (cont.): … so be prepared with questions, notes, framings and send them in advance (when possible)<br />Tools (the text)<br />Caveat: by focusing on the activity as the unit of analysis many of these tools and relationships are foregrounded<br />subject<br />object<br />Rules<br />Distribution of labor<br />Community<br />Wiki<br /><ul><li>As a place to try your understandings
  33. 33. Adapt to responses
  34. 34. Engage in a conversation bout the ideas
  35. 35. … as part of your object </li></li></ul><li>A sociocultural analysis<br />Tip 11: Think about the authentic task for you<br />Other big ideas:<br /><ul><li> Authenticity is king
  36. 36. What problem are you solving?
  37. 37. How will these ideas advance that work?
  38. 38. That’s what the final (and other) papers will be on
  39. 39. Focus on changes in participation
  40. 40. They take time
  41. 41. They are individual
  42. 42. Progress is progress</li></ul>Tip 12: Think about whether or not your participation is shifting<br />
  43. 43. Sociocultural analysis<br />Situated in…<br />Prior knowledge<br />Time<br />Space<br />Physical<br />Social<br />Tip 13: Think about how your thinking, reading, etc. is ALWAYS situated….<br />
  44. 44. Coda <br />Keep a dictionary handy<br />(a concluding event, remark, or section)<br />Reflect on your relationship to the text and the course<br />Spend the time on the key elements<br />Trust in the tools and community for the rest<br />Rely on the re-visiting of the texts<br />

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