Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Reading & Writing]]> vol. 11 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Pitfalls and possibilities in literacy research: A review of South African literacy studies, 2004-2018</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Given the comprehensively documented literacy crisis in South Africa and the gaps in what is known about the effective teaching of reading and writing in schools, high-quality literacy research is a priority. OBJECTIVES: This article evaluates South African research from two annotated bibliographies on reading in African languages at home language level (2004-2017) and South African research on teaching reading in English as a first additional language (2007-2018). It also aims to provide guidelines for addressing these weaknesses. METHODS: Examples of 70 quantitative and qualitative research studies from the annotated bibliographies were critically analysed, identifying key weaknesses in the research as a whole and examples of excellent quality. RESULTS: Weaknesses evident in the research reviewed, suggested greater consideration is needed to lay sound methodological foundations for quality literacy research. Three methodological issues underlying local literacy research that require greater attention are research design, selection and use of literature and research rigour. High-quality research examples are referenced but, for ethical reasons, examples of what we consider to be flawed research are described generally. Guidelines are offered for addressing these pitfalls that, in our view, contribute to research of limited quality. Since many universities require submission of a journal article as a requirement for postgraduate students, preparation for such an article is considered. CONCLUSION: While this article is not intended to be a comprehensive guide, we hope it is useful to supervisors, postgraduate students and early career researchers currently undertaking, or planning to undertake, literacy research and to writing for publication. <![CDATA[<b>The cause-effect relation of latent variables in scientific multi-text reading comprehension: Testing the sequential mediation model</b>]]> BACKGROUND: The issue of science is seldom brought into focus because of the way developing assessments of students' multiple text reading comprehension. OBJECTIVES: This study tested the sequential mediation model of scientific multi-text reading comprehension (SMTRC) by means of structural equation modelling (SEM), and aimed to advance the scientific multi-text reading comprehension assessment (SMTRCA), with a focus on discussing the causal relationship of potential variables in SMTRC. METHOD: Test items included 10 closed-ended and 7 open-ended questions and were categorised into four subscales: information retrieval (IR), information generalisation (IG), information interpretation (IIP), and information integration (IIG). RESULTS: The confirmatory factor analysis results showed that there was an acceptable goodness-of-fit among the SMTRCA, indicating that the construct validity was good. Furthermore, the Cronbach's α of the test items was 0.88, indicating good internal consistency. In addition, using 1535 students, structural equation modelling was applied to analyse the relations of the latent variables. The findings showed that when readers are performing multi-text reading comprehension, IR will simultaneously have direct influences on IG, IIP and IIG. Moreover, through IG, IR had an indirect impact on IIP; through IIP, IG had an indirect impact on IIG; through the two intermediate mediators of IG and IIP, IR had an indirect impact on IIG. CONCLUSION: In our data-driven model, multi-text reading comprehension is a hierarchical and complex cognitive process. That is to say, when an individual is engaging in multi-text reading comprehension, they will not just follow a single approach, but will deal with several cognitive processing routes simultaneously. Recommendations are made for future research to explore the cognitive model of scientific multi-text reading comprehension and to determine whether there are differences among multiple groups, as well as standard setting to define the cut-off scores of the criterion-referenced model, to develop an assessment reporting system of scientific multi-text reading comprehension, and strategies for scientific multi-text reading. <![CDATA[<b>The elephant in the room: Tensions between normative research and an ethics of care for digital storytelling in higher education</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Digital storytelling (DST) has been embraced in classrooms around the world as a way to unpack issues of identity and positionality which are critical for any pedagogy concerned with social justice. However, adopting this process-orientated practice into higher education raises ethical concerns especially in relation to the normative approach to traditional research. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this article was to explore the ethical concerns surrounding DST when used as a pedagogy and to determine if an 'ethics of care' approach could help to mitigate the ethical dilemmas experienced by teachers and researchers alike METHOD: A single case study, narratives, illustrations and reflections from a final-year arts education project were used to explore some of the ethical issues we encountered when employing DST as a pedagogy and in educational research. RESULTS: The results of this reflection show that special attention needs to be paid to the following issues: the collection and interpretation of data, how anonymity and confidentiality are ensured in DST, who owns the stories, how sampling is conducted and how consent is sought and, finally, how the tenant of 'do no harm' is adhered to in DST. CONCLUSION: We argue that traditional deontological approaches to ethics are not able to fully respond to the complex, nuanced and ongoing concerns posed by DST projects. We adopt Joan Tronto's Ethic of Care to argue that ethical practice cannot be contained in codes of conduct alone and cannot simply be signed off on by institutional review boards, but is rather a matter of a daily personal, professional and political caring practice.