Phase 2 Introduction

Phase 2: Expanding Critical Inquiry with Investigation and Argument

In the second phase of the course, we expand our inquiry into the question of what we should eat by identifying related issues, developing and refining questions, and investigating those questions. The goals for this phase include not only increasing our understanding of the issues, but also engaging in the conversations on them.

In the first phase, we learned how one writer investigated the "ominvore's dilemma," considered some of the answers he found to "what should we eat?" and began posing further questions Pollan's work raised for us. Now, we will refine some of those questions and investigate them. In the process of doing so, we will build information literacy as we find and select sources that offer a variety of perspectives on the questions we pose as well as credible and authoritative information. Students will work collaboratively to investigate one question and explain their findings to the class. These explanations can serve as initial inquiry for students who wish to pursue these questions further or as an impetus for initiating other lines of inquiry. Students will then join the conversation on a question-at-issue by writing an argument.

Phase 2 builds on Phase I by asking students to continue reading closely and critically. In Phase 2, however, students will refine and expand on the questions raised in Phase I and find and select sources to answer them. Throughout this phase, we will need to work with students to develop focused, significant questions-at-issue relevant to "the ominvore's dilemma." With such questions in mind, we'll guide students through the process of "listening to conversations" on the issue they're investigating and evaluating what they "hear."

Using library resources, especially research databases, comprises a key component of Phase 2. During this phase, you will schedule a time to take your students to Morgan Library for a session with a librarian in one of the Electronic Information Labs. Working with the librarian, you will help your students learn how to search the library's collection using SAGE (the library catalog) and research databases such as Academic Search Premier and Lexis-Nexis for sources that address a question-at-issue their group is inquiring into. We focus on developing critical information literacy in this phase, helping students find, evaluate and select sources that further their inquiry into a question-at-issue. We hope to move students beyond googling and accepting whatever they find to conducting searches of a range of databases and selecting sources that support academic inquiry.

After students are introduced to effective academic inquiry while working collaboratively, they will define individual questions-at-issue to inquire into further and write an argument that responds to their question. Thus, this phase of the course will also focus on writing an argument in an academic context.