A case study of university honors students in Humanities through a disciplinary literacy lens

Jonathan Cisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Students face challenging texts in higher education, whether they are discipline-specific journal articles or great works of literature. Building on research in content area reading and disciplinary literacy, this case study explores the various stances undergraduate honors students take when coping with challenging texts while enrolled in a Midwestern university’s humanities course. Through an analysis of student interviews, writing, and observations, honors students demonstrated the use of one of three stances when reading challenging works: Bottom Liners sought the essential meaning of a text, typically through online sources; Researchers attempted to alleviate their difficulties by researching historical, social, and authorial contexts; and Feelers tried to emotionally connect with the texts’ authors. Results clarify how students cope with challenging texts from multiple disciplines in a college classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
JournalLiteracy Research and Instruction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • college reading
  • content area reading
  • disciplinary literacy
  • qualitative research

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    • 4 Citations
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    English teachers are the C3POs of disciplinary discourse: how to teach 'disciplinary literacy bridges’

    Cisco, J., Feb 2016.

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