Undergraduate Research: June 2010 Archives

stack.jpgDid you see this?

"Consider this tally from Science two decades ago: Only 45 percent of the articles published in the 4,500 top scientific journals were cited within the first five years after publication. In recent years, the figure seems to have dropped further. In a 2009 article in Online Information Review, Péter Jacsó found that 40.6 percent of the articles published in the top science and social-science journals (the figures do not include the humanities) were cited in the period 2002 to 2006.

As a result, instead of contributing to knowledge in various disciplines, the increasing number of low-cited publications only adds to the bulk of words and numbers to be reviewed. Even if read, many articles that are not cited by anyone would seem to contain little useful information. The avalanche of ignored research has a profoundly damaging effect on the enterprise as a whole."

This article doesn't address the effect of this on students and their choice of research to use in assignments and papers but talk about challenging! Imagine trying to tell students that half of the articles are considered low quality--often students are new to the discipline area and wouldn't have the expertise to judge low quality to high quality. Is this distinction appropriate at the major level or is this really a graduate level skill? Does anyone try to teach this spectrum? It seems like there could be a role for a databases--instead of mega databases like Academic Search Premier that go for quantity instead of quality. Thoughts...


It was interesting to hear the librarians from Harvard talk this week about using the Project ambient_findability.jpgInformation Literacy data and the power of data from their own students. There is a new feature from this project called Smart talks:

morville_searchpatterns.jpg"Smart Talks is an occasional series produced by Project Information Literacy (PIL). PIL hosts interviews with leading experts about PIL's findings and their thoughts about the challenges of finding information and conducting research in the digital age."

Their first interview is with Peter Morville entitled Search and the Paradox of Choice Project Information Literacy.

Read it at: http://projectinfolit.org/st/morville.asp

"PIL: Why is search so difficult for college students, especially the first few steps of search?"

"Peter: This finding is emblematic of the intimate relationship between search, learning, and decision making, and it brings to mind the paradox of choice. After all, the search box offers unrivaled selection. You can ask it any question. Or at least it often feels that way. For a student, this freedom can be simultaneously exhilarating and totally paralyzing. Also, most students lack a useful mental model of search."

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I wonder if this could be used in an instruction session or by faculty as a "reading." I wonder what students reaction would be to this idea that "search" is difficult. Would there be nods of agreement or looks of disbelief?
lib_fac_seminar.jpgThe Science and Engineering Library and the Information Literacy Collaborative hosted a one and a half day seminar for instructors in the Institute of Technology on May 19 and 20, 2010.  The purpose was to create and support a community of faculty and instructors committed to developing student skills in finding, evaluating, and synthesizing information in their academic coursework and for lifelong learning.  The seminar introduced participants to a variety of Libraries services, tools, and skill sets to help support instructors and students in their teaching and learning.  The seminar included sessions on information literacy, library and Google research tools, copyright, scholarly communication, data management, and offered consultations with subject librarians for integrating these resources into current and future assignments.

Here are a few comments from faculty and instructors responding to questions on beneficial aspects and feedback overall:
    "Revelations about what the library can and does do to facilitate faculty and student productivity"
    "Learning about available resources, talking with fellow faculty about issues related to effective pedagogy"
    "Very informative.  I learned a lot.  It makes me think of new ideas and more effective teaching strategies."
    "Thank you all for a fun and informative workshop!"


Learn more at: http://sciweb.lib.umn.edu/facultyseminar2010/

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Undergraduate Research category from June 2010.

Undergraduate Research: May 2010 is the previous archive.

Undergraduate Research: July 2010 is the next archive.

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