What you’ll do in class today:
- Group presentations on readings
- Discuss key terms: topic/issue/perspective/position
- Connect key terms to why we research
- Introduce purposes for research and strategies students will need as they begin to research their topics
Connection to course goals: Today’s class introduces research as part of the process of inquiry that is crucial to defining an issue and identifies key terms that students need in order to understand the complexities of the issue they’ll write about. We also give students some specific research strategies to guide them as they begin to research their issue and find sources.
1. Have groups meet to prepare for their presentations (7-10 minutes): Remind students of what each group should accomplish (summary, list of issues, reaction) and circulate around the classroom to respond to any final questions. Give each group an OH and pen to write their responses so they can present them to the whole class.
2. Group presentations (35 minutes): Have each group present the key points and issues raised in their assigned article and their reactions to the potential importance of those issues. While they’re presenting, you might keep track of the possible issues on the board or have someone do this. Also, it’s not entirely crucial that groups get every main point from an article, but make sure they’re not missing major points or completely misrepresenting their assigned text.
3. Define important terms (5-7 minutes): In this discussion make sure students understand the distinctions among the key terms they’ll need to know as they explore and analyze the issue they’ll choose to write on in this unit. Here are the central terms that you should cover:
- Topic refers to the general subject a person is researching and writing on (i.e. grading).
- Issue refers to a specific debatable question about that topic (i.e. “What effect do grades have on students’ learning?”).
- Opinion indicates one of the generalized sides people take on an issue (i.e. proponent of reforming standardized testing).
- Position refers to a specific stance based on specific values and concerns (i.e. standardized tests such as the S.A.T. are unfair to minorities and women).
4. Connect key terms to research (5-7 minutes): Design a discussion that shows students how these terms you’ve just defined relate to research and the process of inquiring into an issue. Emphasize that on any given topic there may be many issues and opinions that people are debating. Let students know that at this point their job is to research their general topic to find specific issues within that topic that are worth exploring and writing about. As they inquire into a given issue, they need to start making these finer distinctions between their topic and related issues, as well as between opinions and particular positions they find on their issue. Therefore, defining and exploring their issue involves an ongoing process of asking a series of questions about the context that emerges from their research and choices they make.
5. Discuss research (5-7 minutes): Create discussion questions that get students thinking about the larger aims for researching. You might have students think about their past experiences with researching (i.e. what has been most challenging and what has worked well).
- understand an issue in its complexity and the various positions involved
- educate yourself
- support your view
- gain credibility
6. Discuss resources and strategies for researching (10 minutes): In this discussion make sure to cover research resources and strategies that will guide students as they begin finding sources for their topic. Give students the Research Strategies handout included in the appendix or design one of your own. Make sure to emphasize how to search (using different types of searches such as regular, Boolean, etc.), the importance of finding and using the right search terms, using questions as search entries, and what bibliographic information they will need to record as they research and find possible sources. Explain to your students the importance of getting into the habit of keeping track of bibliographic information and keeping some type of research log right now as they begin to research. (Also see the sample Issue Research Log in the appendix.)
Assignment for Day 23:
- Read “Writing a Research Paper” in PHG (539-550) and “Collecting” and “Internet Research” in PHG (555-569).
- Decide on your issue.
- Find 1 article on the issue you’re planning to research and argue about for Essay 4.