Reading the Discipline
Objectives of the Assignment:
- To provide you an exercise to familiarize you with our library and
its resources in the discipline
- To provide a framework for thinking through sources of research in
- To help you think about the sources that you want to keep reading during
your time in the program
Locating your Interest
The assignment requires that you locate an area of research interest
where you want to concentrate your reading. Don't know what you want to
do when you grow up? Don't worry, neither do we. There are three possibilities
to do the assignment. First, you do know what you are interested in and
what you want to study. Fine. Go directly to the next section. Second,
you have something that you kinda think you are interested in, but you
aren't sure. Doesn't bother us. Pursue it. We are more interested in teaching
you the underlying process here which you can certainly repeat if your
interests change. Third, you have no earthly idea what you are most interested
in. Well, in that case just take some subject that will help you in one
of your graduate classes and pursue it for the assignment.
Questions to answer
Develop the following information. In making selections, consult faculty,
other graduate students, librarians, or whomever else may help.
- What is the relative importance of research monographs (books), journals,
and edited collections in your field of interest? Are any of these more
important than others? Do they serve differing purposes within the texture
of the field? Which presses are most likely to publish books in your field
- What are the three most important journals within Communication studies
for you to read regularly? Who is the editor currently accepting manuscripts
for that journal? What are the current editorial policies? Do they demarcate
a specific interest? Which resources (written and electronic) index each
- Are there journals outside Communication studies with which you need
to maintain contact because they may contain important research in your
field of study? Who publishes them? From what disciplines do they draw
most of their research? Where are they indexed (print and electronic)?
- What reference indexes (print and electronic) are most important in
locating recent research in your field of interest? What are the advantages
and shortcomings of each? Are there important journals not indexed in each?
- What sources contain book reviews of important books in your field
of interest? Are there restrictions on the books that will be reviewed
in these sources? Is the source(s) sufficient for full exposure to new
publications in your field?
Write a plan (no more than 1000 words) for keeping yourself current
on research developments in your field of research. Your answer should
reflect and justify your judgement on what sorts of resources (books, journals,
edited collections, other outlets) are the most important outlets in your
field of interest; your findings on how to access important work in these
resources; and a sense for how you will set priorities within this "maintenance
reading." Your plan will be judged on its realistic approach to the
problem of reading priorities. Be certain to provide substantive rather
than ad populum justifications for your choices.
Attach in briefer form (succinctly stated answers and single paragraph
justifications) answers to the following:
- What were your three journal choices inside the discipline and your
choices outside? What factors (editorial policies, content trends, etc)
justify those choices.
- What were your choices for indexes (written and electronic)? What recommended
these and what limitations do they have that you need to be aware of?
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