This study aims to explore how graduate students in the social sciences develop reading and note-taking routines.
Using a professional socialization framework drawing on grounded theory, this study draws on a snowball sample of 36 graduate students in the social sciences at US universities. Qualitative interviews were conducted to learn about graduate students’ reading and note-taking techniques.
This study uncovered how doctoral students experienced the shift from undergraduate to graduate training. Graduate school requires students to adopt new modes of reading and note-taking. However, students lacked explicit mentorship in these skills. Once they realized that the goal was to enter an academic conversation to produce knowledge, they developed new reading and note-taking routines by soliciting and implementing suggestions from advanced doctoral students and faculty mentors.
The specific requirements of the individual graduate program shape students’ goals for reading and note-taking. Further examination of the relationship between graduate students’ reading and note-taking and institutional requirements is warranted with a larger sample of universities, including non-American institutions.
Graduate students benefit from explicit mentoring in reading and note-taking skills from doctoral faculty and advanced graduate students.
This study uncovers the perspectives of graduate students in the social sciences as they transition from undergraduate coursework in a doctoral program of study. This empirical, interview-based research highlights the centrality of reading and note-taking in doctoral studies.
The authors thank Elizabeth Lenaghan, Alistair McCulloch, Gianna Mosser, and Lisa-Jo van den Scott for comments.
Fine, G.A., Wohl, H. and Ispa-Landa, S. (2021), "Reading routines: strategies of recall in graduate education", Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 173-189. https://doi.org/10.1108/SGPE-12-2019-0086
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