You read an awful lot during your PhD. And it is quite a job.
- You have to make sure you find the right literature and don’t lose yourself in all these articles that might be very interesting.
- You have to make sure you remember everything you read.
- It really can be beneficial to have a reading strategy.
- On top of that, you have to make the right links between the data.
- And finally, you have to conclude and establish connections.
- And I still haven’t mentioned the use of a reference manager. This is no easy matter!
Science is a discourse community
Why is all this reading and figuring out what others have written so important? The answer is simple: science is a discourse community.
Discourse community? Yep. You can talk of a discourse community in the expert area of your discipline: lots of discussions are held about your discipline. On some subjects everyone agrees, some subjects are controversial, some provoke discussions on the right research methods for instance and sometimes there is some gossip.
And once you are involved in science, you are part of this discourse community, you will take part in the discussions. You have to read to find out about the different dialogues and you then write in a clear way to answer the questions in the discussion.
By reading you become aware of the dialogue and by writing you are taking part in the dialogue.
That’s the reason why you read: finding out what is going on and figuring out how your research relates to the topic of discussion.