This post was written for my Bibliography & Research in Music (MUTH 65200) course at Ithaca College. I will be posting eight reflections from the class here throughout the course of the semester. You can find the other posts under the category Bib Class Reflections.
This week we “read” six publications for this blog assignment in our Bibliography and Research class.
- Wagstaff “Periodicals” (Oxford companion to music)
- Weir “It’s Not Harry Potter”
- Western Libraries “How to read a scholarly article”
- Beall, “Predatory publishers are corrupting open access”
- Kolata “Scientic articles accepted (personal checks, too)”
- Beall, “What I learned from predatory publishers”
Some are published journal articles, but news articles, blog posts, web pages, a video were also included. They range in date of publication from 2011-2017, and range in attitude and advice as well. Their singular common link, however, is a focus on the subject of scholarly articles.
Wagstaff, Weir, and Western Libraries introduce readers to the culture around scholarly publishing, and how a reader can most effectively digest a scholarly article.
The video from Western Libraries encouraged readers to approach an article out of order. By closely reading the abstract, the conclusion, then introduction readers are able to make critical decisions about whether to continue reading a particular article. With a clear idea of the author’s intentions, the reader can evaluate in the body of the article how effective the writing is. I am convinced after seeing this strategy in several of our readings now, that reading out of order is critical to the research process. I plan to apply it to the way I read scholarly articles, as well as books and web pages.
Weir’s “It’s Not Harry Potter” was addressed to academic professors, but is an interesting read for the student. It speaks to the persistent struggle of the expert who, in teaching the novice, must start from the beginning (a stage they might not even remember) and resist passing on expectations of their own work onto their student. Weir, rather provocatively, encourages students to skim their reading and only retain what they need. This advice though, is given in the context of his class which teaches students how to read by helping them explore the purpose for reading. To entertain is not the same as to inform, and the writing of each of these purposes will differ dramatically. The clarification seems obvious, but was never explicitly discussed in any of my courses in my undergraduate education. Having the permission from Weir to approach a scholarly article differently than a novel will certainly speed up my research process and cut down on the guilt a feel when I pass over entire chapters of an author’s work.
The final three articles all use Jeffrey Beall’s specific experience to discuss the general problem of predatory publishing in an open-access environment. I did not know much about this issue before I read these articles, and feel both surprised and not surprised that predatory publishing is a threat to the community of academic scholars. [Read more…]