Problem-based learning in literary studies

Bill Hutchings, Karen O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A process that prīorītīzes cooperative learning and group-management of tasks as a key vehicle of delivery, PBL seems ideally suited to a discipline such as Literary Studies that works so much through discussion and debate, with a relative lack of clear target responses to questions. It might even be argued that the current dominance of tutor-directed models within Literary Studies actually runs counter to the real nature of the subject. A literary text seldom, if ever, has a single issue or problem as its concern, even when a critic or even the author claims that it does. There will always be a diversity of potential response generated among diverse readers. It is arguably in the apprehension of this diversity that the true creativity of the subject lies. A PBL method, in which it is the group itself that defines the learning objectives, tasks and methods of inquiry, seems particularly appropriate. Copyright © 2002, sage publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages10
JournalArts and Humanities in Higher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Facilitation
  • Literary studies
  • Problem-based learning
  • Skills development


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