How are you teaching students to research? When students research in our library, I started noticing a disconnect between personal vs. academic research. By restricting them to academic sources have we stifled their natural curiosity? Is it the linear path we have imposed on them in the past? I have no idea…but I’m constantly thinking about it and looking for more ideas!
Right now I’ve been informally interviewing students on the processes they use when researching. Additionally, I’ve been informally interviewing myself on how I research. Here’s some things I’ve noticed:
- Curation – When I’m researching-whether academic or not-I typically pull together a ton of information. I’m constantly shifting it and curating it in to different topics/subjects and leaving my organization open for future use. When I speak with students, they’re focus is usually temporary. They are task oriented and rarely even have the option to curate their research for later. Additionally, students tend to have a more focused view of their research. They struggle to see how it fits in to the big picture.
- Scaffolding Works – Seriously. Currently, we use digital notecards (on Powerpoint) with students to help them paraphrase. It’s fantastic! They have the opportunity to organize the cards, color code them, and give them themes right there on the cards. Often times I wonder however if we could start this scaffolding earlier in the research process. I’m not sure how though, still working. I think this is one reason Pinterest is so successful! If you’re looking for ways to organize your mantle, you can easily browse through a variety of photos and articles to find what works for you and immediately organize it.
These are my current observations and I’m interested to learn of others experiences. Do you use any strategies to move students from a linear approach to research to a more asynchronous approach?