Where We Stand in the Field
IN PREVIOUS RESEARCH
Although this is perhaps the first study to take an overtly informational stance in research on academic literacy, it is still possible to group studies in this area into four categories in terms of how they treat information, albeit implicitly. These categories roughly correspond to cognitively oriented research, rhetorically based research, genre studies, and comprehensive case studies. The first three classes respond to different orientations with ultimate disciplinary roots in psychology, literary interpretation, and linguistics, respectively. The fourth consists of studies that are only methodologically consistent, so there is overlap with the other three.
The closest to an overt concern with information can be found in cognitively oriented approaches. In fact, a distinguishing feature of cognitive science is its view of mental activity as a form of information processing. In education, therefore, work on studying and learning that takes a cognitive perspective usually looks at how students process information in their courses to understand how they learn it.
Much of this work consists of close examinations of particular strategies. These include note taking (e.g., Van Meter, Yokoi, and Pressley 1994), underlining (e.g., Peterson 1992), graphic organizers (reviewed in Dunston 1992), and various combinations (e.g.,