As I gear up to teach a 3-credit course again (LIB 1015 Information Research for the Social Sciences and Humanities), I’m hoping to deepen my students’ sense of what research is. I’m wondering if there is a way I can use this clever graphic by Matt Might about what a Ph.D. is to help illustrate that in most cases research expands our knowledge in a very narrow way and minimal.
As I gear up to teach a three-credit course again that my library offers (Information Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities), I’m looking for new sources that I can have my students read that introduce them to a model of doing research that is focused on inquiry (questions). To that end, I’ve just started reading the latest edition (the fourth) of Kate Turabian’s Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers. Here’s a nice quote with language that I may incorporate into my spiel to my students about what research is actually about:
New college students are often surprised to discover that just knowing the facts is not enough for most teachers. It’s not enough in our own work: more than knowing things, what energizes us is our habit of seeking out new questions, the cast of mind that drives all research. And it’s not enough in yours: more than checking that you know the facts, we want to see what you can do with the facts, what new questions, combinations, possibilities, or puzzles you discover–or invent. We value and reward good answers, but we reward good questions more. (p. 2)
Glancing ahead at chapter two of Turabian’s book, “Finding a Research Question,” I see that there may be some really good material there that will help me with one of the trickiest parts of information literacy: teaching students how to develop a good research question.
This might make a good textbook for the 3-credit course I’ll be teaching in spring 2009, “Information Research in Social Sciences and Humanities,” one of the eight classes taught by library faculty at Baruch College.