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Minding the Research Gap

Minding the Research Gap

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Minding the Research Gap

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  1. Minding the Research Gap Teaching Students to Use Sources Effectively

  2. Aims • Why do we assign research papers? What do we hope students will take away from them? • What disappoints you about student research papers?

  3. Professors’ Complaints • Broad, unfocused topics • No real question, position, or sense of purpose • Clumps of information, roughly sorted into categories • Inappropriate sources • No clear sense of voice • Disorganized Hjortshoj 167

  4. HBLL Research • 2010 Student Information Seeking Behaviors • Website confusion • Frustrations • Time • Use what they already know • Don’t know how to “chunk” research process

  5. Student Processes • Website confusion • Frustrations • Time • Use what they already know • Don’t know how to “chunk” research process

  6. Three Things to Remember Our aim is to help students better UCE (use) research: • Find and understand the research they encounter • Put that research in context with other research and their own thinking • Enter the conversation in their own writing

  7. Burke’s Parlor “You come late. . . . Others . . . are engaged in a heated discussion . . . . You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense . . . . The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.” Kenneth Burke, qtd. in Joseph Harris, “Forwarding,” Rewriting: How to Do Things With Texts” Logan: Utah State UP, 2006.

  8. Building a Bridge Thinking in Context (Preliminary Writings) Student’s Argument Entering the Conversation (Writing) Reading for Understanding

  9. Finding Sources and Reading for Understanding

  10. Reading for Understanding • When you approach a new research project, what do you do to get a sense of the field? • What do you ask your students to do? • Discuss your answers with a partner

  11. Choose a topic Problem Solution • Seeing the topic as “what the paper is about” Seeing the topic as “only a point of departure” Identifying “a real question . . . a real viewpoint” Hjortshoj, The Transition to College Writing, 170

  12. Invention Activities • Ask questions • Think about own experience • Check general sources/ review articles for background • Look for issues

  13. Helping Students with Topic/Thesis/Choosing a Project

  14. Finding Sources • Library Resources • Subject librarian and Research Guides • Research Lab • Reference Desks

  15. Selecting Sources • Location of Source • Scholarly • Peer Reviewed • Author(s) • Institutional affiliation • Education • Other publications • Date • Awareness of the Conversation • References to other scholarship • Cited by others • Explains connections and alternative explanations

  16. Assignments to Help Students Find & Select Sources • Discuss • Suggestions

  17. Reading Sources Joseph Harris suggests that readers look for a “project” rather than a thesis by asking: • Aim: What is the author trying to achieve? What issue or problem is the work addressing? What does the author want to argue? Why? • Methods: How does the author connect ideas together? • Materials: Where does the author get evidence and examples? What texts get cited? • In other words, ask “What is this work trying to do?” not just “What does this work say?”

  18. Assignments that facilitate understanding • Reading journal • Two columns: one for summaries, one for questions and critiques • Conversation Starters • One page reflection on reading that ends with question for class discussion • Book/Article Reviews • Summary of project along with a critique of strengths and limitations • Others?

  19. Reflecting • Write: • How do you help students find and read the literature of your discipline? • What assignments/class activities might be useful? • Discuss

  20. Thinking in Context

  21. Thinking about Readings in Context of What Others Have to Say Summarize and Synthesize: • What do we know about the immediate areas of this research field? • What are the key arguments, key characters, key concepts, key figures? • What are the existing debates/theories? • What kinds of methodologies are generally employed by researchers in this area?

  22. Putting Others in Context cont’d Comparison and Critique Questions • How do the different studies relate to one another? What is new, different, or controversial about the various studies? • What views need to be further tested? • What evidence is lacking, inconclusive, contradicting, or too limited? • What research designs or methods seem unsatisfactory? Mary Dossin’s Twenty questions (see packet p. 3)

  23. Thinking of Readings in Context of What I Have to Say • Four ways of adapting others’ material to your own purpose (from Harris, Rewriting): • Illustrating • Authorizing • Borrowing • Extending • Ask: “What does this work add to my project?”

  24. Assignments to Facilitate Thinking in Context • Annotated bibliography • Full citation; brief (2-3 sentence) summary of main points; one sentence explanation of how this work supports your project • Literature review • Identify important research trends; assess strengths and weaknesses (of individual studies as well the existing research as a whole); identify potential gaps in knowledge

  25. More Assignments on Context • Research Proposal/prospectus • Common sections: Introduction/background, problem, methods, review of literature, outline, bibliography • Questions to ask: • What problem or question do you intend to address? • Why is this question or problem significant? • How far along are you in your thinking and research? What do you expect to find? What is your working thesis statement? • What have other scholars already written on your topic? • Attach a working bibliography. Adapted from John Bean, Engaging Ideas, 207

  26. Reflecting • Write: • How do you help students put researched information in context? • What assignments/class activities might be useful? • Discuss

  27. Entering the Conversation

  28. Entering the Conversation • Start with a point worth making • Easy Thesis Generator: • Although some believe _________________, I believe __________________ because _________________.

  29. Tips on Entering the Conversation • Distinguish what you say from what others say • Consider possible objections • Explain why your point matters • Connect different ideas together • From Harvey Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say, I Say

  30. Getting Started: Academic Introductions Move 1—Establishing a Research Territory • Establish centrality, importance, interest, and/or relevance of topic • Briefly review previous research Move 2—Establishing a Niche • Indicate a gap or problem • Extend previous knowledge Move 3—Occupying the Niche • Outline purpose • State the nature of current research • List research questions or hypotheses • Announce principle findings • State value of research • Provide “map” of paper Swales, John M., and Christine B. Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills. 2nd ed. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2004.

  31. Responding to Others Look again at your article. Find an example of each of the following: • The author agrees with other scholars • The author disagrees with other scholars • The author agrees and disagrees simultaneously We will discuss these examples momentarily.

  32. Agreeing • Make sure it’s clear what you add to the conversation. • Templates for Agreeing: • I agree that _________________ because my experience __________ confirms it. • X is surely right about _________ because, as she may not be aware, recent studies have shown _________. • X’s theory of _______ is extremely useful because it sheds insight on the difficult problem of ______. • Others? • From Harvey Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say, I Say, 57.

  33. Disagreeing • Templates for Disagreeing (Graff, Birkenstein 55): • I disagree with X’s view that _________ because, as recent research has shown, _________. • X’s claim that ________ rests upon the questionable assumption that __________. • By focusing on ______, X overlooks the deeper problem of _______. • Others? • Ask yourself: “What do I hope will result from pursuing this disagreement?” (Harris 55)

  34. Agree and Disagree (“Yes, but”) Harris calls this “Countering” and identifies three ways: • Arguing the other side • Uncovering values • Dissenting

  35. Templates for Agreeing and Disagreeing • “Although I agree with X up to a point, I cannot accept his overall conclusion that ________” (Graff and Birkenstein 60). • “Although I disagree with much that X says, I fully endorse his final conclusion that ________” (Graff and Birkenstein 60). • “Until now, writers on this subject have disagreed on points a, b, and c. However, underlying this disagreement, there is a consensus of views on point d. In this essay, I will show why point D is wrong” (Harris 64).

  36. Tips on Disagreeing with Civility • Focus on positions more than phrasings • Don’t try to guess the motives behind the work • Be careful with modifiers • Avoid suggesting that the limits are obvious: “clearly, simply, in fact” • Avoid portraying author as well-meaning but clueless (“Earnest, well-intentioned”) • Emphasize what you are contributing • Take the gold out of Egypt • Adapted from Harris, Rewriting

  37. Taking an Approach Acknowledge Influences • Concerns: What problems, questions, and materials does the author work with? • Methods: How does the writer collect evidence? • Style: What style does the writer adopt? Turn an approach on itself • Ask the same kinds of questions the author asks Reflexivity • Reflect on the choices made (regarding tone, methods, values, language) while writing • From Harris, Rewriting

  38. Ways to Use Sources Summary, Paraphrase, Quotation

  39. Why do we cite sources? • To give due credit for information • To help readers continue their research • Other?

  40. What do we cite? ALL borrowed material • Quotations • Paraphrases • Summaries • Facts NOT Common Knowledge

  41. Summary What is a summary? • A summary is description of the piece or idea “in short.” When do you use a summary? • When lots of information needs to be conveyed quickly • When the source includes information that’s helpful but not essential (Evans) • When what you have to say is routine (Harris)

  42. Paraphrase What is a paraphrase? • Restating an idea or passage in your own words When do you use a paraphrase? • When the information is important, but not the wording

  43. Quotation When should you use the words of a text verbatim? • When you are commenting directly on the language of a text • When what you have to say is more contentious (Harris) • “[To] show what your perspective on it makes visible” (Harris 20). • When the language is particularly vivid

  44. Strategies to help students incorporate quotes • Introduce the source as needed • Explain the significance of the quoted passage • Use “gisting” to cut down on unnecessarily long quotes • Identify four or five key words in a passage • Trim or rearrange the quote to use as little as possible while keeping those key words or phrases

  45. SOURCES 1. “Avoid the temptation to load up your paragraphs with long or full quotes from your sources. I often see what I call “hanging quotes” in research papers. Embedded in a paragraph is a sentence or two within quotation marks. Though the passage is cited, there’s no indication of who said it. Usually the writer was uncertain about how to summarize or paraphrase or work part of the quotation into his own prose.” (Bruce Ballenger 186) 2. “Plagiarism results from a writer’s failure to integrate information from sources into his or her own thinking. Such failure often originates in inadequate paraphrasing and summarizing during the note-taking process.” (Jean Johnson 176). First Example Paragraph Based on Sources Students are often tempted to load up their paragraphs with long or full quotes from their sources. These might be called hanging quotes, since they are cited but there’s no indication of who said it. When writers fail to integrate information from sources into his or own thinking, they are uncertain about how to summarize or paraphrase.

  46. SOURCES 1. “Avoid the temptation to load up your paragraphs with long or full quotes from your sources. I often see what I call “hanging quotes” in research papers. Embedded in a paragraph is a sentence or two within quotation marks. Though the passage is cited, there’s no indication of who said it. Usually the writer was uncertain about how to summarize or paraphrase or work part of the quotation into his own prose.” (Bruce Ballenger 186) 2. “Plagiarism results from a writer’s failure to integrate information from sources into his or her own thinking. Such failure often originates in inadequate paraphrasing and summarizing during the note-taking process.” (Jean Johnson 176). Second Example Paragraph Based on Sources Writers sometimes have trouble integrating information into their own paragraphs. They sometimes fill their paragraphs with long quotes from their sources or “hanging quotes.” This usually means that they don’t understand the connection between their own ideas and their resources. Or perhaps the writer was uncertain about how to paraphrase the information (Ballenger 186).

  47. SOURCES 1. “Avoid the temptation to load up your paragraphs with long or full quotes from your sources. I often see what I call “hanging quotes” in research papers. Embedded in a paragraph is a sentence or two within quotation marks. Though the passage is cited, there’s no indication of who said it. Usually the writer was uncertain about how to summarize or paraphrase or work part of the quotation into his own prose.” (Bruce Ballenger 186) 2. “Plagiarism results from a writer’s failure to integrate information from sources into his or her own thinking. Such failure often originates in inadequate paraphrasing and summarizing during the note-taking process.” (Jean Johnson 176). Third Example Paragraph Based on Sources Writers sometimes have trouble integrating information into their own paragraphs. Bruce Ballenger explains that students may “load up [their] paragraphs with long . . . quotes from their sources” (186). When such passages include a citation but no introduction, he calls them “hanging quotes” (186). Jean Johnson suggests that this problem may begin while the student is taking notes (176). When writers truly understand the connections between their own ideas and their sources, then the information can fit smoothly into their paragraphs.

  48. Plagiarism: What should you do? If it is fraudulent: • Know BYU’s policy: http://honorcode.byu.edu/content/view/5302/5698/#plag • Know your department or college’s policy • Meet with the student and determine appropriate action • Notify the Honor Code Office If it is innocent: • Recognize cultural differences • Recognize textual difference • Talk as a teacher, not a judge • Worry about how they’re learning (What don’t they understand about documentation conventions)

  49. Activity • Working with 1-2 faculty members, analyze the research assignment description that you have brought with you. (If you didn’t bring one, describe the assignment you use or would like to use). • How does this assignment encourage students to bridge the gap between research and writing? • What are some additional ways that this assignment could help students integrate research into their writing? • What are some preliminary or intermediate assignments you could incorporate into this assignment?

  50. Sources • Bean, John. Engaging Ideas. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001. • Evans, Keith. “In Your Own Words, Please: Helping Students Incorporate Sources.” Tutoring Paper, Honors 300R, Winter 2009. • Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. New York: WW Norton, 2006. • Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2006. • Swales, John M., and Christine B. Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills. 2nd ed. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2004.