The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Inside The Commons: Lifting The LidSaturday, 1st October 2016 17:10 - BBC Two Scotland onlyMichael Cockerell presents the first in a four-part series with unparalleled access to the House of Commons, filmed... Read more: Inside The Commons: Lifting The Lid
The Bottom Line: Autumn 2016: TheresanomicsAvailable for over a yearTheresa May wants a bigger role for government in business. Will it happen? Can it work? Read more: The Bottom Line: Autumn 2016: Theresanomics
Life Story: ParenthoodAvailable until Sunday, 30th October 2016 01:00
BBC Inside Science - 2016/2017 series: Rosetta's comet touchdown finaleAvailable for over a year
Scotland and The Battle for Britain: Episode 1Available until Friday, 28th October 2016 03:05
OpenLearn Live: 30th September 2016A quick collection of items of interest, to bridge the gap between Lives: 100 days of Brexit, the... Watch now: OpenLearn Live: 30th September 2016
The Rosetta MissionWatch this video from The Royal Observatory Greenwich/The OU and find what Rosetta and... Watch now: The Rosetta Mission
Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital worldThis free course, Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world, will develop your confidence... Try: Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world now
Organisations and management accountingThis free course, Organisations and management accounting, examines the nature of organisations,... Try: Organisations and management accounting now
How do we know what people read in the past, and how they read it? This free course, History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past, is the first in a series of tutorials designed to help users of the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) search, browse and use the resource, and explores the types of evidence historians have uncovered about the history of reading. Tutorial 2 (Red_2) and Tutorial 3 (Red_3) look at how this evidence can be used to tell us about the reception of a literary text and to demonstrate the impact of a writers reading on their literary output. UK RED is a resource built and maintained at The Open University.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- demonstrate a basic knowledge of the debates about the evidence of reading, understanding distinctions between ‘hard’ or quantitative data and ‘soft’ or qualitative data
- understand an overview of some of the types of evidence scholars have used to construct the UK RED and their relative merits as primary sources
- identify different sources when looking at individual entries in the UK RED
- experiment with applying different methods of analysis to sets of records in the UK RED, including the application of quantitative and qualitative methods.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Debates about where to find readers
- 2 Evidence of reading experiences
- 3 Using UK RED to understand reading in the past – collating the evidence
- 4 Conclusion and further reading
- Keep on learning
- Further reading
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past
For researchers in a range of academic disciplines, the question of what people read in the past, and how they read it, is of great importance. Evidence of reading helps us to understand the formation of literary canons, both from a popular and educational standpoint. It allows us to give due weight to the impact of significant texts at key historical moments, especially their role in shaping popular ideas and opinions. For instance, knowing who read, how many read, and how they responded to Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species helps us to understand the formation of Victorian ideas about evolution and race.
This tutorial is about locating evidence of reading and using that evidence to better understand how past societies have made use of text. We will begin by looking at debates about the different types of evidence and methods of collection. Next we will focus on some of the diverse sources that have been used to populate UK Reading Experience Database (RED), analysing their merits and value. Finally, we will explore ways of extracting sets of data from UK RED and applying quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis to arrive at some conclusions about reading in the past.
Find out more about studying with The Open University by
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 16th February 2016
Last updated on: Tuesday, 16th February 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (1.1 MB)
- PDF (2 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (879 KB)
- ePub 2.0 (880 KB)
- Kindle (363 KB)
- RSS (102 KB)
- HTML (925 KB)
- SCORM (924 KB)
- OUXML Package (18 KB)
- OUXML File (48 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
- Moodle backup (628 KB)
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.