Subject: resource for writing faculty and others who teach research.

Contributed by Bryan Miyagishima:
I’d like to recommend a resource I came across the other day. It is a blog by a fellow named Daniel M. Russell, who works for Google studying ways that people search and research – in other words, he is a self-described “anthropologist of search.” His blog is available at http://searchresearch1.blogspot.com/ .

Every other day or so he puts out a new research challenge question, asking readers to come up with the answer to some onerous research problem and post their answer and search strategy. While these problems are meant to be solved by using some Google tool or another, the problems cannot be solved by just doing a random Google keyword search. In other words, one has to be quite deliberate about creating a search strategy incorporating several layers of research in order to find an answer. I think the questions and search strategies would make for an excellent 5 minute discussion at the beginning of a class session. It would also make for an excellent discussion about what other research tools (like those available at the library or on the library website) could be used to find the answer.

While I realize that this type of site seems to push the use of Google to the detriment of all other research tools, it’s one that I as a librarian am willing to risk. The main use of this blog as an instructional tool is that it compels students to come up with the right questions in order to solve a problem; this is an extremely valuable skill that is quite difficult to teach. 

                                        Bryan Miyagishima is an Instruction Librarian
                                        at Linn-Benton Community College in Oregon.

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