Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Journal Club meeting: 24 July: Barbara Fister's "outrageous claims" for university librarians

Space to thinkThe next online online blog-comment information literacy Journal Club meeting takes place at 8-9 pm UK time on Wednesday 24th July 2013 (see http://tinyurl.com/ow3kfxz for times elsewhere).

The topic will be Barbara Fister's stimulating keynote paper, aimed at academic librarians, presented at the LOEX (USA information literacy) conference in May. The paper is online at:
Fister, B. (2013) Decode academy. Paper presented at LOEX, 3 May 2013. http://homepages.gac.edu/~fister/loex13.pdf

There is information on Barbara here. Barbara starts by asking what libraries, universities and knowledge are for. She says, for example, that "knowledge will set us free. Knowledge liberates us from the ignorance and prejudice and helps us make sense of the world". She then goes on to make some "outrageous claims", namely
- Research papers should not be part of the first year experience
- We should stop teaching students how to find sources
- Very rarely are citations needed
- We should stop policing plagiarism
- We should stop implying "scholarly" means "good"
- Librarians should spend as much time working with faculty as with students
So - do you agree? Barbara's whole paper is not enormously long, but if you have very little time, home in on the claim you find most interesting/ agree with most/ disagree with most.

As before, the real-time discussion will take place in comments to this blog post during the hour mentioned above, with me helping the discussion along. People are also very welcome to add comments and questions before and after this real-time event. Note that moderation is usually turned on for comments (because otherwise we get spammed!), but we will turn moderation off on the day of the discussion, so that your comments appear immediately.

The picture is one of those which Barbara uses in the paper: it is by juggzy_malone (2007) on Flickr.

125 comments:

  1. Hi, looking forward to the discussion, which will start at 8pm UK time (in 10 minutes). Some hints for discussion are:
    - Refresh the page often, to see the latest conversations
    - Please use "reply" to a comment if you are commenting on the same topic as the blog comment. Otherwise post a new comment (and if you aren't sure - just do what you feel like ;-)

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    1. Hi all, I'm also looking forward to discussing this very thought-provoking paper.

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  2. I'm here from across the pond. Looking for fresh perspectives!

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  3. I enjoyed reading this paper, so I hope other people have too! I will start of discussion threads on each of the 6 "Outrageous claims" in turn, starting with the first. So, Barbara’s “Outrageous claim” no. 1 is: “Research papers should not be part of the first year experience”. One thing it would be useful to establish here is what is meant by “research paper” - I think that term get used a bit less routinely in the UK. I think it means a paper with a strong emphasis on finding and synthesising relevant previous research. What do you think about this claim? (Just a reminder that the paper is at http://homepages.gac.edu/~fister/loex13.pdf (linked in the post above)

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    1. I suppose it depends what the students are likely to be having to do later in their professional life.
      medical students might, arguably, have to get into the habit of writing, since so much of their professional progression depends on publishing. So good habits established early are a good thing

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    2. I think there could be an argument that it is a more "natural" think for medical student, in that consulting the evidence base is so much a part of their future professional practice

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    3. Well, in the U.S., I know by first year we are talking about a general course that all majors would be taking. So, it does make sense to me that having that wait until a student is in a discipline specific seems like a good idea. However, I think the idea in the U.S. has been to have someone who excels at writing teaching students how to write, rather than a Professor who is better in another subject area. If you are taking that out of the English department's hands, then you are back to that issue again.

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    4. having a good writer teach writing skills seems like a sensible plan! (wonder when they're going prioritise getting good teachers to teach, rather than good mostly getting good researchers to teach...?)

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    5. Even though there are varying interpretations by what is meant by "research paper," I tend to agree! If students could write a truly sophisticated research paper as first-year students, why would they need the other three years? Smaller assignments to sensitize students to the issues that come up in various steps of research (for instance close reading, reading for argument/evidence, the influence of publication venue) would be a better approach.

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    6. In the UK there aren't those "English composition" courses that everyone takes - you normally start straight into your course of study. I agree that this could mean it's more variable as to whether the students explicitly get tuaght about "academic writing", though a benefit can be that they get more guidance about how to write in their specific discipline, earlier

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    7. Shana, your comments back up my experience of 3rd year undergraduates suddenly being confronted with having to write a dissertation demanding particular conventions, but never having had to write anything of the same scale before. Slow build up of experience would have helped.

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    8. Shana, I totally agree with you. The various pieces -- like understanding what close reading is -- is beyond most entering first year students. That plus reasoning and perhaps a little debate would get their brains more in tuned with the purpose of a research assignment.

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    9. Agreed that close reading, learning to be fair to various perspectives but critical as well, and learning how to effectively organize thoughts about an issue is a good start. In many cases, having to do those things while learning how to write without too many errors, use formal language, and quote without plagiarizing, and learn citation rules - oh, and learn how the library works! How to evaluate sources! How to make good choices from a large set of results! All gets mashed into a single assignment and the subtleties are lost.

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    10. Isla, that sounds very intimidating! Pity the poor students. Students need help slowing down and seeing how one step leads to another -- more process less product focus. A lot of faculty at my institution are using the They Say I Say book to help students understand the scholarly conversation conventions: http://www.amazon.com/They-Say-Academic-Writing-Readings/dp/0393912752/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374694641&sr=1-2&keywords=they+say+i+say+2nd+edition

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    11. Yes, very much agree you can't pack all that learning into one assignment!

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  4. Niamh, Barbara's paper sure does have some interesting ideas! What do you think? Should freshmen learn about copyright and picky citation styles??

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    1. It's a good question! I don't think it's necessary to dwell in detail on specific styles of referencing in first year, but agree that the concept of discussing other people's ideas, with clear attribution, while making your own arguments is essential. What do you think yourself?

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    2. personally I just can't understand the point of having '00s of different citation styles - it doesn't stop many references being incorrect, even in papers published in peer reviewed journals. The real test is did they use the arguments in the paper correctly, not just quoting quotes, and can you find the paper they used.
      Anything else is just aesthetics.

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    3. The details are what makes the citation style the citation style unfortunately, and in any attempt at a research paper framed as such, there should be an attempt at citation as well. Problems: students (and some faculty) tend to fixate on the punctuation-level details above and beyond doing appropriate research (let alone entering into a thoughtful "conversation" with sources) not seeming to understand that most typos do not result in plagiarism -- faculty have in large part outsourced the teaching of citation style to librarians because apparently we are more "detail-oriented."

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    4. I suppose my problem is that Vancouver style contains the same information as Harvard style, just with different punctuation - one isn't better than the other.
      I agree that plagiarism is a bad thing, and acknowledging your sources can influence how people view the decisions you reach (see tony blair and WMD) but citation style is just aesthetics.

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    5. Personally I think consistency and, as you say, that you can identify the item sufficiently and uniquely, those are what are important. However, being an Information School, of course we do specify a particular citation style...

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    6. Only just noticed your "why" - good question! I think some of our students might see it as odd if we didn't specify any particular style, perhaps the idea that if any style (if consistently used) is ok might be, ahem, too challenging to us markers in being fluent in more than one style. Perhaps I will throw this in as a discussion point for a future iSchool Teaching Committee ;-)

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  5. Hallo! (waves from Minnesota) Very honored to have my paper chosen for this discussion.

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    1. Welcome! Am I right (in the comment above) about what is meant by a "research paper"?

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    2. Honoured that you could join us! Thank you for getting us thinking.

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  6. Good evening, I'm a medical librarian serving university as well as NHS.
    thanks for suggesting this paper to read for tonights discussion. I'd not come across it before, and it's exactly the sort thing that makes you question what you do.

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  7. I understand Barbara's reaction to "research papers" - and I'll note that some first year composition courses seem to spend time on other forms of writing, but... if they don't get started on academic writing when they are freshmen, when will they do it?

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    1. I would argue that they should practice organized, thoughtful reading and writing and learn academic conventions in the major because they are not all the same (biology v. religion v. exercise science, for example). This is not universally well received by faculty teaching those courses who prefer to blame the English department!

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    2. You have a good point, but I am not sure a Math professor wants to take time out of teaching about Match concepts to teach students how to write a research paper.

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    3. Now there's an interesting difference - don't departments set and monitor styles themselves then? The English Faculty here have nothing to with the referencing styles and skills in other subject areas.

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    4. I very much appreciate the discipline-specific approach to IL. With the increasing emphasis on interdisciplinarity, I also think there is room for teaching about academic discourse from a broader perspective. I would be curious if others believe a more general approach (and one which is perhaps introduced in the first year) is valuable.

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    5. In the US (based, I believe, in an old trend to emulate the German university tradition) departments teach content and the English department (often, not always) provides writing instruction as a service, a vestige of their pre-serious-littrature identity of teachers of rhetoric. Many composition courses are housed in English departments. At my college, writing (including in the first year) is taught across the curriculum but even so, the English faculty carry a larger load of writing instruction than other departments.

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    6. That is often part of the problem in the U.S. Students learn MLA style in their freshman English writing course. Then they have to switch to APA, etc in an upper division major course. Some school pick one style that everyone has to use, others just make student use multiple styles.

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    7. There is scholarly literature about "thinking and practising in the discipline", seeing how you can support students in becoming part of the disciplinary community during their time at university ... so from that point of view learning to write with/from discipline specialists is important. I suppose I see the students as benefiting from learning to feel comfortable in "their" discipline. However I think they should also be explicitly taught how to write and present information in different ways for different audiences, as this is a life skill

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    8. Thanks very much for sharing the differences!

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    9. I'm curious how students in UK universities are given info lit instruction. Where does that usually occur first? Where do most students get an introduction to the library/information skills?

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    10. It varies! Mostly, UK academic librarians would say they are aiming to embed information literacy into the course design (i.e. the whole programme), I would say. So for an engineering course there are in some cases interventions each year to help progress students development. Most UK universities have VLEs like Blackboard, so there may be tutorials etc. embedded into those, often customised in some way.

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    11. Thank you. Most US librarians aim for embedding, but a great deal of our time ends up in first year introductory classes. It would be interesting to know just how much instructional time is spent with first year students, but I'd bet it's easily 50%.

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    12. Interesting, I hadn't realised it was so widespread in the UK Sheila. Certainly (going back a few years now) it was something only briefly mentioned by the occasional lecturer in Ireland, with in-depth training (that I didn't realise I needed) available through the library. That may have changed of course...

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    13. Well, I probably made it sound a bit more positive than I meant - in that my impression is that the situation varies between universities and within universities in Britain, not that it is embedded everywhere. But I get the impression that this is what people are aiming for. I also get the impression that as a wild generalisation it is a BIT "easier" in the UK in that there has been so much attention to teaching quality, there have been more national and institutional initiatives to do with teaching that librarians can get in on. I think there is a bigger variation in the USA (but American colleagues might disagree...)

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    14. Being from the US, I have to say I believe Sheila has it correct. When I've gone to conferences where presenters have been from other countries, the focus of their work much different from US presenters -- seems more structured, more connected to a larger picture. That is a generalization, of course, but I come away from many conferences with "Here's what we did" and less with "Here's how this fits into the overall framework." SCONUL is quite different from our standards and I'd love to know of other documents that I might read to understand your methods.

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  8. I'd be interested to know how culture-bound my thinking about first year papers is. Most of the LOEX attendees were from the US, but there was at least one UK attendee (from Wales). Fascinating hearing her talk about how research is measured in UK universities, but we didn't really chat about undergrad assignments.

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  9. This is a great paper with a lot of good points. I can see myself as a novice research paper writer doing a lot of the things this paper discusses. For myself, I didn't really learn how to write a research paper until an upper division history class, where we spent a whole semester learning how to do that very thing, step by step. It was really great, but I'm not sure every college/university is necessarily going to plan a program like that. Many professors expect students to be able to do that already. These kinds of decision are way above our pay grade.

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  10. Fister's article really made me think about what is really important, how do students learn to learn. It seems nowadays that a computer is always necessary for information literacy. Always -- search the database, find scholarly articles, get the best Web sites... That leaves out a lot of great sources to me. And the digital divide is very much still with us.

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    1. I am particularly concerned with the idea it seems to convey that sources are commodities to be gathered and displayed (whatever their format) and that original thought isn't allowed. A kind of Pinterest for quotations. That may be fine, but it's not necessarily preparation for genuine inquiry.

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    2. And to connect to the digital divide ... I think the web has been enormously shaped by commercial interests and that drives an information consumerist approach more than a curious critical disposition.

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  11. Yes, it's fairly typical for first year writing courses to include a practice paper that uses sources and introduces academic conventions for citation. But a lot of writing instructors are frustrated by it because students tend to mash a bunch of quotes together. They spend a lot of time on finding and quoting but not so much on developing a good question or thinking about how the information in their sources is in conversation, or how to know which voices to pay attention to. The Citation Project represents why it's a problematic "genre" - http://site.citationproject.net/

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    1. I really liked your thought about research that has an authentic purpose. Writing papers on topics the students are not invested in leads to these mashed together papers. It seems there should be a way to prepare them better before they write. How about learning to think and argue? Do they have to do that only in written form?

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    2. We do have a 1st year 2nd semester class for our undergrads (admittedly this is a SMALL cohort of students) in which they identify and carry out small scale original research projects. To support it, the whole class is actually geared around working through the steps of research and the assessment for the class is 50% a group poster and handout and 50% an individual reflection on progress. It does seem to bring a change, in that they start to see more WHY they might need to find out what has been done before, how what they've done fits in with what others' have done. I think it is too late to leave that kind of thing til final year.

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    3. Engagement is everything! And it's hard to engineer. I just read a great essay by a writing instructor about how much he has learned from his students. He thinks individual choice of topic works best - http://www.insidehighered.com//blogs/just-visiting/my-students-have-been-indoctrinating-me

      Sometimes, though, they make convenient choices that are really boring to them. One first year class demanded that they publish a website for their fellow students (the course topic was Living Simply). Had the teacher said "your assignment is to create a website..." they would have whinged and groaned about it! So hard to make it matter when they are busy and feeling stressed. I do like your idea, Sheila. Knowing how to find things out is not necessarily learned in tandem with how to organize an essay and cite sources.

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    4. I really like the sound of that class, Sheila. The research leads to questions which then can organically lead to the need for more research -- whether that be speaking with experts or looking into the publications on their own topic. I can imagine the students getting a lot out of the class.

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    5. Yes, we have good feedback from it, and also they do some very interesting work.

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    6. But it must be said it is more demanding of me as an educator (in time and teaching skills) than e.g. setting a routine essay. However, I think it is worth it.

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    7. I've heard of similar assignments which require students to mark each others contribution to the joint project. really contributing to life skills, I think.

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    8. ^^^ this! It's hard to do, and it's not scalable, and it's not particularly rewarded externally.

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    9. @ Barbara - which bit were you saying ^^^ to? lol

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    10. Isla snuck in before I finished typing :) I mean yes, doing it right is demanding!

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    11. Just catching up on the comments now! I was very much struck by barbara's point regarding citing work that "They can let the citation stand for having read a source" - This is not unique to students, and indeed there are many studies which suggest a significant percentage of references in academic papers in peer reviewed journals have not been read by the author!

      This is partly due to a bigger issue, the pressure to cite and increase impact factors being one, but I do think we need to start encouraging our students to really think about the resources they use and how they can utilise them to develop their own arguments and their voice as a researcher and author, rather than focusing on "the citation" itself.

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    12. I do get asked by students often "how many citations do I need", and although I always try to explain how it is about the relevance of what you have found and what you DO with what you have found, not about numbers, but 1) having a target number is something tangible which learners can cling on to (especially if they are feeling challenged by the whole process) 2) some academics do still put a lot of emphasis on this. I'm thinking of one assignment where we resisted giving a ball park number for references, but in the end we got so many questions from worried students that we did give an indicative minimum number...
      My colleague Peter Willett just did a study in which he took an issue of Journal of Information Science in which iSchool members had written articles. We had to say why we had cited things (we didn't have to say whether or not we had read them, lol), and then we read other people's articles and said why we THOUGHT people had cited them. Interestingly, the readers were often wrong, but after doing this, I've started up an exercise asking students to look at why they think a source has been cited in an article and how it's been used.
      Peter used a list of reasons from a previous research study: reasons being, Signposting, Supporting (justifying), (giving) Credit, Position, Engaging, Building (on previous work)Tying (in with methods etc.), Future, Competence and of course “other”. Peter's article is at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=17073337

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  12. Barbara, I really like your emphasis on helping students develop good questions and explaining that they are participating in an academic conversation!

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    1. I also thought that was a good point. I think too many students rely on software to produce citations etc. without fully understanding the meaning behind what they're doing. Helping them to develop a foundation in these skills will enable the, to apply e, better later in the process.

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    2. The above should read 'helping them to develop a foundation in these skills will enable them to apply them better later in the process'. Stupid autocorrect!

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    3. I've toyed with requiring writing about sources without being allowed to use citations - as, say, authors of essays in The New Yorker or The Guardian have to use evidence but can't just quote and point to footnotes. It has to be woven in. I suspet that's rather harder, though.

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    4. That's interesting Claire - I'd have said that referencing software is great because it allows students to focus on their argument and how it relates to others' rather than panicking about where the full stops go.

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    5. It's a definite skill to be developed though. It was something I didn't really get to grips with myself until my masters degree and I think that was one of the most valuable aspects of it.

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    6. I think getting students into this frame of mind is really important. But they often lack this expectation and/or they do not have a good basis of knowledge for framing and pursuing questions. This might be one reason why they seem to fall back on general topics, boring current event-type topics on which they have already made up their minds, etc. What can librarians do to encourage research to be done in a true spirit of inquiry? And shouldn't faculty members (especially those teaching younger students) be taking more responsibility for the early stages of their students' research processes (which Project Information literacy found was among the most difficult for students)?

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    7. I agree Niamh, if citing sources is important, the easier it is for people to gather up the references as they go along the better.

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    8. I do agree that students need to have a high level understanding I of the need for citation in general, but I tend to agree with Niamh about the use of software to make the specifics easier. In real life we do have to cite but not always to a convention. However, as universities are often research institutes they should model good academic practice.

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    9. Shana, I think a lot of instructors forget that the questions that come easily to them are the fruit of many years of study plus lots of tacit knowledge plus they aren't usually as busy with social life and trying to figure out who they are ... and neglect to give enough space or modeling of how to ask a good question, especially if there's content to cover. My daughter was taking a course as an undergrad in which she was reading Foucault or somebody but wasn't entirely sure what "the enlightenment" was - a bit of tacit knowledge her teacher assumed she had. (He went to coffee and kindly explained...)

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    11. I think that the citation software has great value (I certainly couldn't have managed without it!). I just wonder how many students put the thought in behind the scenes and how many just collect citations at the click of a button? As Barbara says, sort of like a Pintrest of citations

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    12. I also like Barbara's emphasis on helping students participate in academic conversations. I teach one-shot information literacy classes at a mid-size university in Michigan. In addition to teaching the usual database search strategies, I focus on educating students about engaging in conversations with their sources. I urge them to question scholarship and to compare conclusions against their own lived experiences.

      Many students are shocked that I urge them to challenge, confirm, or complicate authoritative information against their own lives. They have been taught to only memorize and recite throughout much of their previous education. It appears that many are genuinely excited that their voices are part of the conversation.

      They have been taught that there are two things in the information world: facts and opinions. They often think that their part of the conversation is mere opinion and that the sources are facts. I tell them that all knowledge is basically opinion. Some opinions, however, are more informed than others.

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    13. Ah, I see what you mean. I suppose as with all things it's about how you use them. One of the nice things about cite while you write and then creating the bibliography from those citations is you know that every item in the bibliography is there for a reason.

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    14. Johnnie, I love what you say. The stark fact/opinion dualism is so hard to replace with "there are responsible ways of arriving at a conclusion using evidence ethically, and you can do it, yes, you!" Keep on shocking those students! It's exactly what they need :)

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  13. Hello - apologies for my late arrival, children in bed and cup of tea in hand! I work in the UK supporting social science subjects - I'm interested to know if Barbara thinks her suggestion regarding banning research papers is relevant across all subjects? I can see some of my lecturers having a fit! I'm wary of banning any source - we need to support learners in developing their knowledge of sources and how to read critically, scaffolding as necessary.

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    1. I am so impressed that people are giving up their evenings! Are you sure a glass of wine in hand isn't in order? (Actually, I prefer tea...)

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    2. A glass of wine may make me more coherent!

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  14. Helen, I have the same feeling: If instructors expect second year students to know about citation styles, we'd be doing a disservice if we didn't show them how to do them.

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  16. Aha I realise I've misunderstood the meaning of "research papers" - writing rather than reading! But again I do think it's about scaffolding - we need to know the starting points (not always easy) and then allow students to progress ideally at their own pace, which again leads me to be wary of banning any teaching method.

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    1. Yes, I think an awful lot depends on what you are doing with the learners - e.g. are you just telling them to go away and write an essay, or are you supporting them in different aspects of writing, synthesising, structuring etc.

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  17. We seem to have some good discussion going here, but I will just pitch in another of Barbara's claims - Barbara’s “Outrageous claim” no. 2 is: “We should stop teaching students how to find sources” - my interpretation is that teaching students how to SEARCH shouldn’t be so much of a prime focus.

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    1. I'm a bit torn here - while I totally understand the argument behind *not* teaching sources, I do think that it's one of our strengths! I've recently got to grips with several tricky legal and business databases and these are confusing to me, nevermind someone with less searching experience. So I do think we should market ourselves as experts in sources. Perhaps that is a different issue to whether we should *teach* sources. Often, we need to do what works, what's useful and relevant, and if that's teaching Westlaw or Mintel then so be it!

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    2. However, I'm all in favour of sneaking critical thinking and reflection in there when they aren't looking...

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    3. I should confess I'm torn, too, and when I've got an hour with students, it's likely the whole thing will be spent on how the library works. But what I really want them to learn (to quote Christine Pawley) is how information works - and they aren't the same thing. But what one can do in such a short amount of time is going to be limited.

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    4. But sometimes the process of searching helps people refine what their actual question is - and if you don't know that there are alternative sources of an answer, as well as different ways of framing your question, you'll take what you're given with the first search you do, and assume there's nothing better.
      Agree with Helen, we should market ourselves as expert searchers.

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    5. Actually I think Westlaw and Mintel are examples of when it IS useful to teach searching, in that both of those have very specific purposes. I haven't any experience of teaching law, but in terms of business intelligence, teaching someone how to use Mintel is very bound up in them understanding what market research is and why it is useful. They're the sort of things you wouldn't introduce unless it was already pretty obvious why you need to use them (or is it my inner librarian surfacing there!) I agree with Barbara more as regards the broader databases that seem more disconnected from what the students are doing.

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    6. I'd love to agree on this point, because I don't really enjoy teaching how to use EbscoHost. But, these types of online sources are not as intuitive as Google and are much more complex. I teach a lot of older, nontraditional students and they get very frustrated trying to learn to use Ebsco or other online sources. So, some instruction needs to happen, somehow. I do have screencasts that I refer students to, so it isn't all during class time.

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    7. I like the idea of search shaping the question. I think young/inexperienced/stressed students know their goal is "five scholarly sources" and forget that they have a role in deciding which to spend time with and that their choices matter.

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    8. That's a good point Sheila - the main reason I found those databases hard was because I knew nothing about legal or business information! And the lawyers *need* to use the databases to find case law. I'll have to ponder the question again with regards to the other subjects I teach.

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    9. @Isla and I do agree very much about the search becoming part of the refining and problem solving - but one of the things (in my experience) that students need to learn is that it IS process of discovery and exploration etc., rather than just trying to match articles with the words they were given for the assignment. I do talk about this, and obviously some students get it, or have already got it, but for others it seems more of a struggle to see things as more than an info hunt.

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    10. I totally get where Barbara is coming from on this one--students overemphasize the finding and never get to the deeper levels of understanding/inquiry/scholarly conversation. I'd like to think about how I describe and model what we are doing when we search and find sources. But a) students are actually pretty darn bad at searching -- which can influence the route the paper takes -- and b) this is the most significant area of our own expertise as librarians. We can teach evaluation to some extent, but most of us have just a few sessions and hence take a checklist approach whose weaknesses have often been pointed out. A lot of our ability to evaluate sources is tacit knowledge gained by extensive searching and source exposure over many years, many formats, and possibly in depth on one field or another. This doesn't mean we cannot teach evaluation, but librarians in most scenarios are unlikely to be able to intervene/teach this at the deep level this ultimately requires. Perhaps evaluation could be seen as falling under "we've managed to find something. Just what exactly are we looking at here?"

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    11. I think maybe what I mean is "searching for answers" or "searching to find out" is better than "how to search: go through these steps" - because the steps can become the focus when that's what is being taught, and in my experience students forget everything you say but learn the platforms by plinking around and asking questions as they arise.

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    12. We recently moved to a single search facility across many of our databases and catalogue (Primo) - I have found this has allowed me to step back and focus more on the transferable search techniques and also the resources (rather than sources!). Has anyone else found this?

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    13. Shana, I agree that evaluation is much harder than our checklists make out. I like your question: "just what exactly are we looking at, here?"

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    14. I struggle with single search facilities - as students move from undergrad essays to dissertations, and into postgraduate study the complexity increases, and so low expectations of search functionality means there'll be a big learning curve when they have to be doing systematic reviews etc (speaking from medical perspective)

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    15. I like that approach Barbara - I can easily see how it could be used at a basic level. Consider your question... what should your approach be... what answers are out there? (often more than one!)... reflect etc. A basic question is 'How can I find this book?' easy strategy, easy answer. More complex questions require more complex strategies and answers aren't easy. I hope that makes sense! I think I will explore this approach more. Questioning seems to be at the root of so many things!

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    16. I have about 80 to 120 minutes to spend with students during my one-shot classes. I can teach database searches at the reference desk in less than 10 minutes. I tend to focus rhetorical aspects of information literacy and academic research. I focus on the conversational model of research. I show students that a good database is an entry point to the various conversation of their disciplines.

      And as in any good conversation, they are expected to listen, demonstrate they understand the other person, and then respond. Just like they should do in real life. I link examples of real life conversations with academic conversations. It seems to work.

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  18. Helen, I applaud your sneakiness!

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    1. Why thank you - I heard a recent quote from someone that a lot can be achieved by stealth and sheer determination - I'm thinking of adopting it as my motto!

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    2. "The Stealthy Librarian" - new manifesto?

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    3. I think we have something there...

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  19. In the last FIVE MINUTES I will just lob in a claim I don't think has been discussed much yet - Barbara’s “Outrageous claim” no. 6 is: “Librarians should spend as much time working with faculty as with students”

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  20. I think lots of time working with faculty is a GREAT idea!!

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  21. Helen and I think we should bring wine :)

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  22. Barbara, thanks so much for sharing this paper! It gives me a lot to think about.

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  23. Wonderful conversation. Thank you!

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  24. And I can here a clock somewhere outside chiming 9pm UK time! People can keep discussing now (and add comments later!) but the "official" time is over. Thanks again to Barbara.

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    1. We'll keep comments unmoderated until early tomorrow morning (UK time) after that moderation will be switched on again as we do get spam comments and I know if moderation was off altogether we would get floods of them. Therefore from 25th July there will be a slight delay in comments appearing.

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  25. I've been able to work through a faculty development program that gives teachers time and sometimes even money to think about teaching, and that's a great platform. I've been impressed by how much they WANT students to become information literate, but they could use our help making it happen. We often see how students struggle and they only see the final paper. We can work together (and they may learn a thing or two, also, for their own research).

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  26. Thank you so much for the great conversation. I really enjoyed it - what a great idea this online journal club is. Though I can't type fast enough.

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  27. Thanks Barbara! Thought-provoking as always :-)

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  28. Thanks all for a great discussion. Didn't contribute much but a lot to take away and think about!

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  29. Thanks for joining us everyone! Our next discussion will be at 8pm on 28th August on Michelle Dalton's article in the Journal of Information Literacy http://ojs.lboro.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/JIL/article/view/PRA-V7-I1-2013-3

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  30. Really happy to get here and read the conversation, even though it is already over. Barbara, I really appreciated your article, and appreciate even more the thoughtful discussion here. It's helping me think about important distinctions between learning things and doing academic work.

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    1. Glad you found us! You're very welcome to add more comments. I'm off to bed now but will be back in (our) morning - I feel there's so much more to be said on Barbara's other provocative statements.

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  31. I'm sorry I had to miss this discussion, but I'm glad it's here. I wrote a few quick thoughts here: http://bit.ly/15MpqTc

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