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READ 201: Disciplinary Literacies

This online guide and tutorial was created for the students enrolled in undergraduate READ courses.

What does "disciplinary literacy" mean?

"Disciplinary literacy is the literacy one uses when studying a particular discipline. For example, understanding the scientific process helps one read scientific study results. Each discipline asks its own sorts of questions." Dr. Cynthia Shanahan, University of Illinois, Chicago. 

A Selection of Databases by Subject

Researching Career - Background Info

Occupational Outlook Handbook

The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations. Search the "How to Become One" section for your career to learn about the education, certifications, and important qualities needed for your career. 

Databases for Researching Disciplinary Literacies

A good way to search for articles that describe the disciplinary literacy approaches for various subject areas or majors is to search the Pollak Library Databases by Subject.  

For example, you can search the Communication Source (EBSCO) database to research the disciplinary literacies employed in Communication Studies.

Similarly, you can use the ERIC (EBSCO) or Education Full-Text (EBSCO) databases to search for disciplinary literacy in science, or language arts.

This search strategy can be modified as well. For example, when you search the Art Full Text - 1984-present (EBSCO) database to research the disciplinary literacy approaches for visual arts, you’ll find that the term “disciplinary literacy” yields zero results. However, using the term “visual literacy” will yield a wide selection of articles on this topic.

Remember to use background knowledge and vocabulary from previous searches to modify your searches.

Google Scholar is another good database search for scholarly articles on a variety of topics. It’s a good database to use when you get “stuck” in your research.

Other search terms to consider:

Study and teaching + Your Discipline or Major



Critical reading + Your Discipline or Major