Archive for February, 2007

Homework for Monday, 2/26

Please do three things for Monday, 2/26:

  1. Bring a printed copy of an article relevant to your research to class — we will be working on evaluating articles, so you’ll want to work on one that’s relevant to you.
  2. Bring the name of the expert you will interview for the expert interview assignment to class, plus your list of questions. You might choose one of your professors, or you might choose the author of a book or article you’ve found. The web is great for finding contact information, but if you can’t find it on the web, then look for a directory of experts in your discipline in the NCSU catalog. Directories are a type of reference work we didn’t go over, but they can be very useful.
  3. Do this week’s blog assignment.

Blog Assignment #5

List potentially important keywords and phrases for finding information about your topic in proprietary scholarly databases. Be sure to include synonyms, broader terms, and narrower terms. You can use the terms you generated for class and recorded on your worksheet.
As usual, reflect on the process: Which of these keywords are most useful? Which need truncating? Which need quotation marks around them? Also, how is your research going in general?

Expert Interview Assignment

Expert Interview

Due March 19

20% of overall grade

Goal
Learn and reflect on how an expert researcher in your field finds, retrieves, analyzes, and shares information.
Instructions
Identify an expert researcher in a field that interests you–most likely a field related to your research question, major, and/or Capstone Project. Contact this researcher and make an appointment to interview him or her over the phone or in person (not by email). Prepare a list of 10-15 questions to ask the researcher designed to find out how that expert does research and communicates with other researchers. Conduct the interview, then write a report with the following three parts:

  1. Introduction of the expert: What are this expert’s qualifications? Why did you choose this person to interview? (1-2 paragraphs)
  2. List of questions you asked and the answers the expert gave: Draw up the list of questions beforehand, and make sure to take good notes on the expert’s answers. (1-2 pages)
  3. General conclusions drawn from your interview with the expert: What did you learn from meeting with the expert? Was anything surprising? Do you think this expert might be unaware of resources or methods that you’ve learned about in this class? What factors might have affected this particular researcher’s habits of research and communication? What other observations do you have? (1-2 pages)

Come to class on March 19th prepared to discuss your findings.
Possible Interview Questions

  1. What are your main sources of information?
  2. How do you decide whether to use a source of information?
  3. How has your information-seeking process changed over the years?
  4. Do you get most of your information from printed or electronic sources?
  5. How useful do you find the following sources of information? (Cite examples.)
  6. Do you think your information-seeking methods are typical of other researchers in your field?
  7. Is there anything that prevents you from getting the best information that you can?
  8. I?m considering doing a research project on [topic]. Do you have any advice for me about how to go about retrieving and analyzing information on that topic?
  9. What are your main methods of communicating with other researchers?
  10. Do you have any thoughts about the process of communicating with other researchers?

Blog Assignment #4

I forgot to post the assignment last week! Mea culpa. Please do contribute this week’s assignment by class time on Wednesday February 21. It’s exacty what we’ve been doing, anyway.
Please post here everything you listed on your Database Exploration worksheet for the database you explored. Also, as usual, reflect on this particular research exercise, and on your research process in general. Be sure to read everyone else’s database reports to see if their databases might be useful for you.

Note: Blog was down on Sunday

I posted the third blog assignment a bit late this week (on Saturday at noon), and the blogs were apparently down yesterday and possibly this morning, as well. You may therefore have until the end of the day (11:59pm) to post your assignment — everything seems to be working now.

Blog Assignment #3

Use WorldCat, Open WorldCat, and/or the NCSU Libraries Catalog to find three (3) books (NOT reference books) that will be helpful for your topic. You might choose a book written by a single author (a “monograph”), or a book of papers delivered at a scholarly conference (a “conference proceeding”), or a book of essays and articles.

Describe exactly how you found these sources, explain why you think they are the best sources available to you, and reflect on your research process so far.

NOTE: Be sure to leave TWO lines between paragraphs in your comment to make paragraphs clearer.

Reminder about Reference Question

Remember to bring a printed copy of a draft of your Research Question to class on Monday, February 5. We will give you feedback and advice in class. If your research question needs more work, we will ask you to turn in the printed draft so that we can give you written feedback before the final Research Question is due on February 7. If your research question seems fine, you will simply turn in a print copy on February 7.