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One-day workshop
Led by Professor Mike Wallace and Louise Poulson (University of Bath)
Room 1WN 3.17, Department of Education, University of Bath
Thursday 27th May 2004

Hosted by: The Department of Education, University of Bath


Key skills for social science researchers are the twin abilities to engage in a constructively critical way when reviewing literature and to mount a convincing argument in working up a written account of the review. Yet these skills are complex and can be difficult to acquire simply through experience. One way of enhancing their development is through a structured approach which provides a framework for asking critical questions of any text and the foundation for building up a review of multiple texts.

The purpose of this workshop is to support new and relatively inexperienced researchers in developing their capacity to engage critically with academic, policy and practical literature, especially in the course of contributing to the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Mike Wallace and Louise Poulson have successfully pioneered a structured approach for learning to review literature critically with masters and doctoral students at the Department of Education in the University of Bath. They are co-authors of the recently published book Learning to Read Critically in Teaching and Learning, a teaching text based on their approach.

Participants will be given a copy of this book at the start of the workshop. They will be introduced to core components of the structured approach for reviewing literature that focus on in-depth critical analysis of individual texts. The book may be retained as a resource for extending the workshop activities.

The approach is founded on the nature of academic discourse as a two-way process of attempting to communicate a convincing argument about aspects of the social world. Participants are encouraged to learn from the parallel between constructively critical reading of others' writing in the literature and self-critical writing as creators of academic literature themselves for other critical readers.

In preparation, participants are invited to read and bring with them to the workshop a copy of an article or book chapter reporting research findings relating to teaching and learning which they wish to engage with critically. They will be given opportunities to try out the structured approach to critical reading and in-depth analysis of this text during the workshop.


10.00 – 10.30 Welcome and registration (tea and coffee will be available).
10.30 – 11.15

Session 1: Linking constructively critical reading with self-critical academic writing.

11.15 – 12.00

Session 2: Engaging critically with texts on teaching and learning.

12.00 – 13.00
Session 3: Structuring an in-depth critical analysis of a text.
13.00 – 13.45
13.45 – 15.00 Session 4: Trying out the critical analysis of a text reporting research. lunch.

15.00 – 15.15
Break (tea and coffee will be available).

15.15 – 16.00
Session 5: Reviewing the literature and developing an argument.

The cost of the event is free to members of the TLRP, and all travel and other costs can be met by the RCBN for such participants. For more information about financial support in attending this event please contact the RCBN. For non-TLRP researchers there is a fee of £15 per person. Lunch and refreshments are included in this.

If you are interested in attending this event then please contact the RCBN or complete a booking form.

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This page was last updated 6th April 2004