form groups and explore initial opinions on their question-at-issue,
focus inquiry questions,
review research strategies.
Connection to Course Goals: Today we add collaboration and research skills to the close and critical reading skills we have already established. These activities prepare students to enter academic discourse, and will generate material they can use in their Critical Introductions.
Attendance and introduction (2-3 minutes)
Announce groups and ask students to rearrange (4-6 minutes)
To minimize confusion, put the list of groups and inquiry questions on an overhead transparency. Direct each group to a particular part of the classroom, and give students an opportunity to introduce themselves.
Tip: Groups of three are probably ideal—four becomes a little cumbersome and two makes it harder for the pair to find enough information.
Write-to-Learn (8-10 minutes)
Have students write about their initial opinions about their group’s inquiry question. A WTL will ensure that every student gets to voice his or her ideas. This is important for establishing group dynamics. Put these or similar questions on the overhead:
If you had to answer your group’s inquiry question now, how would you answer it? Why?
What disciplines care most about your inquiry’s subject?
What keywords would you use to research your inquiry question?
What other questions might your group need to find answers to in order to answer your inquiry question?
Interview activity (25-30 minutes)
Tip: Doing this activity will help students get to know each other and assess their starting point.
Ask groups to share their initial opinions through the following interview activity:
Goals: Your aim here is to learn about your own and your group members’ frames of reference regarding your topic.
Take turns interviewing each other. You may ask any of the following questions and any others that you think of. Take notes as you talk so that you can refer to these initial thoughts as your group drafts an explanation at the end of this project.
What interests you about this question?
How much do you know about this subject?
How do you answer your group’s inquiry question right now?
Where do you think your views on this subject come from?
Where did you grow up? When did you grow up? How might this background affect how you think about your subject?
What do your family and friends think about this subject? Do their opinions influence you at all?
How do you identify yourself politically? How do your political leanings affect how you view your subject?
What sorts of values do you hold that might influence your opinions on this subject?
What else about you might influence what you think?
Students should hold onto the notes they take during these interviews so they can incorporate them into the Critical Introduction to their Annotated Bibliography.
Tip: Once groups have compared ideas, they will be able to choose different sub questions to research individually, so as to avoid duplicating research.
Make inquiry plans (15-18 minutes)
Next, demonstrate how to plan out an inquiry using one of the questions from your inquiry list that groups didn’t choose. For example:
Related questions: What kinds of advertisements feature green products? What do marketers do to sell green products? What are the economic risks and benefits to businesses when they advertise “green”? How do green advertisements affect viewers? (etc.)
Explain basic research strategies (7-10 minutes)
Part of students’ homework will be to find one source, which they will most likely do through Google. Explain three basic criteria for a source for this project: relevance, reliability, and currency. The source needs to help answer the inquiry question, it needs to come from a credible author or organization, and it needs to be current enough that its contents still matter. In addition, the source needs to be useable in an academic paper (therefore, no Wikipedia).
Tell students that you will collect bibliography entries next time to provide feedback.
Tip: Revisit the assignment sheet to remind students of what they should do once they have found the source (they should read it closely to write the summary and they should read it critically to write the evaluation).
Conclude class and assign homework (3-5 minutes)
Wrap up class as usual, reminding students to meet in the library next time.
Read PHG (pp. 657-670 and 677-692) about research processes and strategies.
Complete the research log tutorial on the library's web site.
Find one source that can help your group answer your inquiry question. As you search, remember the criteria we discussed in class: reliability, relevance, and currency. Keep track of your search using the research log. Bring your log-in-progress to class.
Read the source you find closely and critically, then write a bibliography entry for the source. Bring both to class on Tuesday. Use your PHG (pp. 700-720) as you write the MLA bibliography entry.
Please remember to meet in the library on Tuesday.