Research Boosters: Strategies for Building Student Skills
The process of research is often more complex than students anticipate. Part of helping them succeed is making visible the steps in the research process and helping students recognize that each step will require them to employ different skills.
This section of the Faculty Toolkit provides small, low-stakes activities that can be adapted and deployed throughout the semester to help students develop the skills and understanding needed to get them to the finish line: the research project!
For each activity, we provide learning outcomes and information about materials required and time needed. The activities are organized by stages in the research process:
This collection of activities is ever evolving, and we would love to include your ideas, too. If you have a low-stakes activity idea for helping students develop understanding or skills for research, please email Professor Linda Miles.
The Association for Research and College Libraries (ACRL) has been promoting an understanding of research skills that transcend a particular discipline. One of their major contributions to discourse on student learning of research skills is the idea that there are certain information literacy "threshhold concepts" that fundamentally change the way students understand research.
Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.
Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.
Information resources reflect their creators' expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required.
Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination.
Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations.