Dialogue on how we coach the variety of students we encounter at the graduate level to delve into online resources for their research

In the 25-minute audio linked here Peter Taylor (professor of Critical & Creative Thinking [CCT] at UMass Boston) gets George Hart (Director of Libraries at UMass Lowell) to reflect on changes past, present, and future in how we coach the variety of students we encounter  at the graduate level to delve into online resources for their research.  Peter set up the session because although the days of didactic reference-librarian presentations on data bases and search strategies were gone, he thought that his students — especially online students who are growing in number in CCT — would benefit from a dose of George’s enthusiasm, experience, tips, and appreciation of the complexities of research and engagement to draw them into learning more about the wealth of resources available to them to find out what others have written that could inform their inquiries.

During the session Peter formulates a directed activity in which each student first takes a working title of their project and uses google scholar and google books to find one article and book and get copies from the library or through inter-library loan.  Then they find another article from EBSCO host, a relevant dissertation, and an article from Science Direct.  (Perhaps the specific references will turn out not to be most useful given that project definitions evolve and change direction in the early weeks of a semester, but at least the students would have become acquainted with the systems they’d use for the rest of their research.)  At the same time, by the end of the audio George gestures towards a role for personal story-telling for students to develop a coherent sense of their paths in thinking and research.  (Peter mentions a story by Jane LaChance, which can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/39023104.)


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he teaches and directs undergraduate and graduate programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society. His research and writing focuses on the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context, incl. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (U. Chicago Press, 2005) and Nature-nurture? No (2014, http://bit.ly/NNN2014). On reflective practice, see Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research & Engagement (with J. Szteiter, 2012, http://bit.ly/TYS2012).

One Response to Dialogue on how we coach the variety of students we encounter at the graduate level to delve into online resources for their research

  1. Rhoda Maurer says:

    Peter – Thank you so much for posting this. I found new resources to help with the practical aspects of doing research online and at a distance from the main university library and new connections to think about.

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