Free course

History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past

Free statement of participation on completion

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.

Course learning outcomes

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.