Conclusion: A Note on the Recursive Nature of Learning, Reading, Writing, and Research.
Congratulations! You have made it to the end of your journey through this text and reader – for now. You have probably noticed some repetition in this book, which is because learning, reading, writing, and research all involve similar applications of the same “recursive” processes. For example, we use mind maps for reading that your professor assigns you, for research and sources that you find, and for organizing your own original ideas in early stages of the writing process. Annotation and other active reading strategies are useful for all of these processes as well, in addition to peer review of your colleagues’ work and your own proofreading process of your own work. When you “read like a writer” and use strategies outlined in Chapter 1, when it comes to the writing process in Chapters 2 and 3, we expect that you will use your flexible mindset as a writer to experiment with certain techniques, rhetorical appeals, and ways of writing that you have carefully observed and annotated when you previously read. This is especially important when you advance into the particular field of study in which you will focus your future career, where through “reading like a writer” you can learn and start to internalize the specific expectations, norms, and vocabulary of that field of study.
All of this, especially peer review, adds to your prior knowledge of important topics you choose because they are important to you—and your peers choose because they are important to them—and hence your learning becomes meaningful and stimulating. Your peers are often your best teachers, and through peer review you can learn from their perspectives, and often their writing techniques and the moves they make, just as much as you can learn from more advanced writers with whom you share less connections, in terms of your values, language use, burgeoning subject knowledge, and so on.
Further, your professor may assign parts of this book in a different order based on the way they set up their course schedule. One professor may teach the reading process and writing process in depth before starting research (as we have set up the book); others may include research as a natural succession of the reading process, assigning Chapter 4 after Chapter 1, then teaching the writing process with Chapters 2 and 3 after you have gone through the research process to find, evaluate, and read sources you have found. That would also make sense. The point is that this book is not a linear progression of learning that leads to reading, which leads to writing, which leads to research, but that all parts of each process feed into, reflect, and build on each other recursively, or in a more circular way.
Finally, we hope that this book can be recursive in the sense that you will return to parts of it that you find useful throughout your college career, and beyond. As a “living,” truly Open Educational Resource, we will continually revise and update this text as we encounter new knowledge and perspectives, but the core spirit of the journey we’ve taken you on will always be accessible as long as you have an Internet connection.
To wrap everything up on the theme of the ‘recursive’, the new literacies you’ve practiced in this text and will develop throughout college involve various recursive processes where each stage of your development is integrally connected to the rest. The goal is to make you independent thinkers and learners with various critical choices to make as readers and writers, based on who you are and what you think is important in the world.
Thank you for being here to do this important work! Before you embark to use your reading and writing to conquer the world, please take one last moment to engage with us as critical readers of our text.