100 Days (part 1)

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. This journey started with a single paper: ‘Enquiry into learning and teaching in arts and creative practice’ written by Susan Orr and Julian McDougal in 2014. It argued that there were distinct parallels between creative practice and teaching practice that should be made explicit and developed through a commitment to reflective practice. It was an interesting read. It also meant that I was one down, with ninety nine to go.

As a doctoral student, one of the most common pieces of advice that you get is ‘read, read, and read some more.’ This is sound advice, for how can you make an original contribution to knowledge without knowing what else is out there. After all, I may think that my idea to shear baked dough into individual chunks may be extraordinarily innovative, but it’s just possible that someone else got there first. However, reading papers takes time, and as a part time student with a full time job I don’t have very much time to spare. I needed something to motivate me. So, I set myself a challenge. Between March – June 2018, I set myself the challenge of reading one hundred academic papers in one hundred days. Easy, right?

As with any challenge I set myself some rules. Firstly, I would adopt a broad definition of a paper. Book chapters were fine, as were book reviews as long as they were substantive. I also resolved to read an average of one paper a day for a hundred days. As such, it would be fine to miss the odd day, as long as I made good my debt at some later date. I didn’t give myself any restrictions on topic choice. I would read whatever I fancied reading. Access to the papers wouldn’t be a problem, as the University College London library has electronic access to pretty much anything that I could desire.

To help me remember each paper, I decided to keep a list of references, which included a short sentence or two that summarised the main points. (well, it did, from day 8 onwards). You can read it here.

So what did I learn? I’ll write more about that in part 2.



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