The first article we were asked to read for Dr. Graham’s course was one called “Research Worth Publishing,” an editorial by Michael Moore published in the American Journal of Distance Education in 2004. Since the course culminates in a paper with detailed annotated bibliography, and thus much of our work will be putting together the “lit review” for our research, it makes sense that we would open with Moore’s argument. He is concerned about
the propensity of many authors as well as students to underestimate the importance of the literature review that must precede any presentation of data.
Having taught high school English for 10 years, I have adopted a technique of analysis based on Writing Analytically, by David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen. They too argue that you must pay attention to the existing texts before you can come to any conclusions about it. Students have been rewarded for having immediate “insights,” but the authors argue that the best insight comes after you have attended to the text’s patterns and motifs (strands, binaries, anomalies, and repetitions).
In some ways, Moore makes a similar argument: you cannot have the best insights about a topic until you have attended to the issues and themes of the existing literature. Still new to the field, I have a lot of reading to do on the issues of interest to me (blended/distance learning in university courses in Humanities and History, focusing on issues of conversation, creativity, and community). It’s good to be reminded by Moore right from the start how important this reading/literature review really is to being a good scholar and researcher.