Monday, July 20, 2009

Research is Recursive

I was reading the chapter, "Modeling Recursion in Research Process Instruction" by Sandy L. Guild, and suddenly a light bulb in my head turned on. I know modeling of my thought process is important when demonstrating searching. But I realized that even though I know research is a recursive process and that I talk about it as a cyclical process, often times when I am working with students I present it in stages. The idea that it is linear probably causes a disconnect and additional frustration for students.
I really liked the way Guild connected this idea of teaching recursive thinking and laying it over the process models of information seeking. I appreciated having that aha moment! The short chapter gave me plenty of food for thought and helpful examples. I hope to incorporate these ideas in my teaching and work with students more formally in the fall.

Work Cited
Guild, S. L. (2003). Modeling Recursion in Research Process Instruction. In B.K. Stripling & S. Hughes- Hassell (Eds.), Curriculum connections through the library (pp. 141-155). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.


Pam Meiser said...

I read about Kuhlthau's information search process for the first time in my school libraries class. It's the first time I ever associated (formally) emotions with the research process! I think if we explain to our students that their feelings throughout the process are totally normal and, if paid attention to, can help them see areas that need further investigation. I'm glad this chapter reminded me of her research.

Valerie said...

One thing that I find interesting about 'a-ha' moments is that they can happen at any time - they can occur the first time you read something like an article or they can occur the third time that you read that same article or it could happen when someone else is discussing that same article. You never know what will be the trigger point for the moment.

I wrote about the recursive process as well - I find it so important, but I know that I was never taught research from that perspective. I was taught in a very linear way. In high school I remember a biology research project in which I came across an article with opposing information to everything I had discovered up to that point. And what did I do? I pretended I had never found that opposing view point - out of sight, out of mind. When I'm working with students, I hope that I can show them that discovering the alternate theories or opposing viewpoints is part of the excitement of research and an important part of the process.