Kelly Dagan has an extremely thought-provoking post over on her blog on flipping our standard models of how we teach students to do research.
So, drawing on a suggestion from one of her faculty, instead of a process of research where students
(1) (a) develop a research question (b) search for information on that question (c) evaluate sources and (d) synthesize those sources into an original research product, we would have students, instead,
(2) (a) Learn to read one scholarly piece and understand that piece really well and then (b) later do all the other hard stuff, like searching, synthesizing, and so forth, once they’ve become more sophisticated in college.
I’m, of course, a (1) man from way back, and my knee-jerk response is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I think this post brings up some really interesting issues, especially since, as we all know, (1) ain’t very easy for expert researchers, much less incoming freshmen. Maybe something like (2) would be a useful approach for working with new students if we brainstormed on it bit more, or incorporated it more into (1).