Susan: You'll need at least three minutes for the activity and a few more soliciting responses from the audience. Lily: our comments to the audience: we suspected that your steps would be somewhat linear, which is how writing is traditionally taught. Susan will talk a little bit about this next.
Susan: The writing process when taught in a lot of textbooks used to look somewhat like this—a linear list of steps that one takes to move the writer from expressive writing to academic writing. The process, however is more complex than this oversimplified representation of it. As Stephen Kucer writes in his book Dimensions of Literacy, “as the surface text is evolved, the writer may discover new meanings not originally anticipated. This discovery in turn may lead to a modification of the writer’s background knowledge and a new understanding of the context of the situation&quot;(181-182).
Susan: &quot;Writers shuttle back and forth in their use of the strategies. Revision--deletion, addition, synthesis, re-ordering, re-focusing--and the editing of such surface level features as spelling and punctuation can occur at any point in the process. The actual writing can serve as a form of prewriting in that it provokes the discovery of new meanings to add to the text.&quot; (Kucer, 187).
Susan: So, too, has the research process been represented as linear in books written about research. This is also partly due to the list of ACRL Information Literacy standards which breaks down research skills into specific bits, standard by standard, in ways that tend to oversimplify the process itself. That being said, it's helpful to discuss the research process in one-shot library instruction classes because it encourages students to come back to you for help, it illustrates the complexity of their tasks, and it offers the opportunity for librarians to talk about where they make a contribution in that process before, during and after the one session with the students. It is something I address in every class that includes a real research component.
Lily : I think that it is much easier for us to view writing as recursive than to do the same for research, although as we are arguing here, research is just as much based on critical thinking and is a recursive process. Norgaard: research is not “a formalistic tool for the communication of already discovered ideas but as a vehicle for inquiry and as a process of making and mediating meaning” (p. 127). The literature unequivocally points out the lack of understanding of the relationship between writing and researching, which is often viewed in terms of unequal hierarchy (Norgaard, 2003). Writing is often elevated as something that is more complex than research. Typically, information literacy is reduced to the one-shot session and research is often equated with technology. It is uncertain that librarians' role as educators who can promote critical thinking has been established. Susan will talk about other misconceptions that we may have about research, which we may be passing along to the students in our sessions.
Susan: Common misperceptions include the fact that: 1)Both the writing and research process is linear and simple 2)That once a student learns how to do one research project and write it up, they can do it again for other projects. Not necessarily true. 3)That it is only the job of librarians to teach research and only the job of writing instructors to teach writing 4)Librarians contribute nothing to teaching about the writing process and should leave that part out of their work. 5) Writing instructors should not get involved in teaching about research as it relates to library & info resources. Lily: Our different perspectives: My experience is mostly with the writing process as it relates to First Year Composition courses. I have been collaborating with English Department faculty to shape the FYC curriculum, assignments, and teaching, along with conducting library instruction sessions for Freshman English. Susan, on the other hand, mostly has worked with graduate level research classes and consultations for the College of Education, so we both have somewhat different perspectives about where librarians become involved with the writing process and we will share some ideas or suggestions from those different perspectives. An emerging trend the literature are articles which argue for the importance of librarians to be pushed beyond their levels of comfort, in order to be effective in reaching students in teaching information literacy. Librarians have immense expertise that can help students to feel that they “belong” in their disciplines, but, in order to do so, we must be pushed outside of our comfort zones a little bit. At the same time however, I work with a very standardized curriculum, which is the First Year Composition Program, which means that, often, I have more experience with the assignment than some of the first-time composition instructors. Susan works with a much more diverse curriculum, which is not as standardized. So who does what and where? This is what we ’ll turn to next .
Lily I think that anyone who really does research knows, intuitively, that there is a strong and fundamental relationship between writing and research. Although often we teach research as a process that happens before writing, in reality, we often find that model to be inadequate and limiting. What is research? It is a conversation with scholarly sources and content. That conversation doesn ’t happen before writing, more often than not, it happens at the same time. So, for me, the question is: are we teaching these processes to students in a way that gives them an accurate and realistic understanding of them, or are we doing a little bit of disservice by focusing on the linear representation of them? Discovery, questioning, organization, and process--these are some of the overlaps between writing and research that I have observed also in my work with English Composition students. I think if we clarify the relationships between research and writing, perhaps it will be easier for First Year Composition students to feel that they can participate in academic discourse 1) Both writing and research require an assessment of what one already knows. Discovery happens at the beginning, when you are formulating a topic, but it doesn't end there. What we know changes and it is not possible to look at &quot;discovery&quot; as a preliminary step in the researching and writing process 2) How good is other people's interpretation? Both writing and researching have this component of evaluation. For example, we evaluate a news paper article and a journal article, sometimes, based on the style that they are written in, as well as how they use secondary sources, etc. Evaluation is multi-dimensional and has to do with style as well. 3) What hasn't been said already? Again, content is not divorced from style. So, when we write, we pay attention to how we are saying things (writing) and also what we are saying (researching) --where does one's personal voice tie into existing research and how do we organize it, so it is logical and coherent?
Susan: Indeed, it is difficult to separate the two processes one from another and yet that is exactly what librarians and instructors do when instructors work with students in the classroom with their assignments and their progress on them, and as librarians teach them how to find information. Yet it is easy to collapse the two into one process. Mike Palmquist ’s textbook, The Bedford Researcher , outlines both writing and research in a chart that includes: choosing, exploring, and narrowing a topic; developing and refining a research question; collecting information; reading critically, evaluating, and taking notes; organizing and planning; drafting; revising, editing,, designing, and finally documenting sources (Palmquist, 4).
Susan: There are many areas in the writing process where librarians can make valuable contributions. Quite often they are involved in helping students manage topics and research questions because students ask librarians for assistance in that phase of their work. Teaching students about what is a manageable topic and how to pose research questions is something I do often in my collaboration with faculty, particularly the week before an actual library instruction session. In helping students with that process, I use concept tables that ask students to state a topic or research question, break those into concepts which they then explore further during a hands-on library instruction workshop as they search for relevant information. One could also say that much of the information-seeking phase of the research process is part of the prewriting phase of the writing process and obviously librarians are heavily involved in that part of the process. Librarians also cover material about evaluating sources, particularly helping students identify reputable, peer-reviewed, scholarly articles as sources for their literature reviews. In upper level classes, students are asked to use empirical studies that support their research topics or questions, so much of library instruction is not only about searching for relevant materials but identifying and evaluating requisite sources .
Lily: Where do librarians fit into the curriculum? I would argue that we fit in more so than we are typically given credit for. For the most part, however, we work within First Year Comp. and typically within the framework of the one-shot session. First Year Composition has been the vehicle for IL (for better or for worse) since at least 1970s. As I already mentioned, this is what I have the most experience with, while Susan works more with upper level and graduate students. Next, I will be talking about some of the things I do in my composition classes on this slide. I think that we can do a lot that can help students be more excited about the research process and feel more included in it.
Lily When I came to USF, it soon became apparent to me that the misconceptions between writing and research were also transparent in the relationship of the library with First Year Composition Although there are always exceptions, generally, the problems I encountered: -Librarians as resources NOT educators -resistance to incorporating activities into the one shot fro FYC instructors -resistance to communicating with librarians and collaborating on the information literacy lesson outcomes on the other hand, we as librarians were guilty of -lack of interactivity with students -boring -content is too general -re-using content, over and over again, no customization -too focused on instruction as statistics=not as our role as educators The role of librarians is VERY similar to that of writing instructors, whether we admit it or not. We step into their shoes as soon as we enter the instructional classroom, inevitably. Susan We need to prove ourselves to Writing Instructors and not take things passively. Show that the one shot is just not enough and make them want more. More examples on how you draw faculty in Lily transition to what I do to draw students in
Lily: The scholarly process itself is so purposefully closed that many freshmen, especially, do not feel that they can participate in it. One thing that we can do to help them participate is by helping them find their personal voice. This is especially important when students are trying to formulate a topic. I always try to prompt them to find something that they are themselves passionate and interested in by showing them certain sources for topics that maybe their instructors haven ’t, such as going on google and typing a topic and narrowing it to blogs or discussions (from the sidebar) in the online communities that the students are interested in. I stress, of course, that these things are not sources for their paper, but just can be used to find an interesting issue that people are talking about. All research is personal; otherwise no one would write research. When students find their “personal voice” in a paper, that’s when they are really engaging their sources and having a conversation with an article. The true reason to cite sources is to acknowledge that conversation--not just to cover our basis and avoid plagarism. The other 2 are part of the Questioning method. The Socratic Dialog, from example, is the idea that we as librarians can benefit from stepping back from our position as “information experts” and instead let the students focus on what they know, as opposed to what they think YOU know. So, in my classes, sometimes I will act as if I am completely and entirely unfamiliar with a topic that’s presented to me, or that I have never heard of that particular view on a topic (even if it is something like the death penalty, or abortion, or another one of those over-used topics). I will say things like, I wonder when this issue started, or I wonder what’s in the news about this today—and that will get students to think, hmm.. what do I really know about this? Maybe I should find out more. I also often act like I don’t have an opinion on something, even if I do. I want them to help me come up with an opinion. That causes them, usually, to defend opinions that they hold and re examine them. All these things lead students to the goal, one shared between librarians and writing instructors, which is to help students create a “fluid thesis”, one which evolves with the paper.Susan: Librarians tend to push students too quickly into a thesis. Why? The “black box” of the database at the reference desk. This is why we need greater collaboration with faculty, which is ultimately the answer to the problem
Lily: The importance of trying to get involved on the curriculum level: 1) rephrasing/clarifying language in the curriculum 2) participating and coordinating assessment 3) working (a lot) on the rubric (which has a component in the evaluation of sources), as well as how, in general, it has been great to get to know instructors, participate in events, have more of a personal connection, etc. Joe Moxley has also approached me for writing things in his online book on Composition, which I haven't actually gotten to doing yet, but I can still talk about that. Do these things seem interesting? There is also the opportunity to do pilots in teaching the class and proposing different models for collaboration/co-teaching. Not being part of the committee, would have made those unapproachable Standardizing communication with instructors/faculty, even if it is only for a one-shot Treating the one-shot as the beginning of a relationship and trying to collaborate, even when you know it's a one shot only..
Susan: Show examples in Blackboard. All too often we get mired in the basics so we don ’ t have time to help students with the “meat” of their work which is to make sense of their projects well enough to start writing. Talk about boundaries and knowing them, crossing them, understanding them.
Putting “Literacy’ in “Information”: Exploring Writing & Research Connections Information Fluency Conference March 10, 2011
Contact Information Lily Todorinova [email_address] Susan Ariew [email_address]
The Research Process Identifying & selecting manageable topics Creating research questions Setting up a search plan Matching questions/search terms to resources Identifying & evaluating your sources Citing sources appropriately EDF6211
Discovery, questioning, organization, and process --Sheridan (1995)
What do we know already about a topic?
Evaluation: how good are other people's interpretations of a problem?
What hasn't been said already?
Where Do They Overlap the Most in Library Instruction? Much of research, though not all, occurs in the prewriting/critical reading Thesis and organization often develop as students identify their information need (creating a research question) Documentation overlaps with IL goal of citing sources appropriately