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Reading in the Disciplines: Literature

Advice from Professor Sarah Gracombe

Professor Gracombe shares some advice that she gives to her students who are reading sources to include in their papers.

She says:

Finally, I think it's helpful to be clear with themselves about how and why they plan to integrate the source into their own analysis. (Or what the specific assignment asks of them in relation to their source.) For most of my research paper assignments, I make articulating this a part of their paper proposal. Here's part of what I include in the proposal assignment:

"In other words, does a book’s/ article’s argument help support your own ideas? Does it contradict them and thus provide something for you to rebut? Does it provide a useful theoretical framework or historical context for your discussion?  Does it present a similar perspective on some aspect of your topic, helping to show this view was held outside of the literary text? Does it contradict that literary text, helping to show the literary text’s perspective was not necessarily widely held or was debated at the time? 

Reading in Literature

Literature is the creative expression of the thoughts, feelings, emotions or experiences of people. reading literature can help you to learn about other people, as well as learn about yourself. Literature can pose questions about human experience and enables you to experience a broad range of emotions, events, and experiences without experiencing them yourself. 

there are many different types of literature and many types of readings in the discipline. 

Different types of readings should be approached in different ways, and evaluated using different criteria. 

Read literature slowly and carefully. you will want to pay attention to the authors choice of words. You will want to pay special attention to the author's descriptions and comparisons.  

Adapted form McWhorter, K. (2015) Reading across the disciplines. Pearson.

Close Reading

Distant Reading

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