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Conceptual Frameworks in Legal Research Instruction: Where Pedagogy and Design Principles Meet to Make Better Tutorials and Presentations Paul D. Callister,

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Presentation on theme: "Conceptual Frameworks in Legal Research Instruction: Where Pedagogy and Design Principles Meet to Make Better Tutorials and Presentations Paul D. Callister,"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Conceptual Frameworks in Legal Research Instruction: Where Pedagogy and Design Principles Meet to Make Better Tutorials and Presentations Paul D. Callister, JD, MSLIS Director of the Leon E. Bloch Law Library & Associate Professor of Law © 2004, Paul D. Callister

3 Take out a sheet of paper, in the next two minutes graphically represent (other then in grammatical sentences) your favorite subject to teach.

4 Part I Why Bother with Conceptual Frameworks?

5 The Problem The Problem Find Ursa Major and Draco

6 The Solution

7 “We do not first see, and then define, We define first, and then see.” “We do not first see, and then define, We define first, and then see.” --Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion 81 (7 th printing, 1961)

8 Semantic Network Theory “Our memory is organized into networks consisting of interlinked nodes. Nodes are basic pieces of information or individual words.... Learning is the process of building new knowledge structures by acquiring new nodes.” Peter A. Hook, Creating an Online Tutorial and Pathfinder, 94 Law Libr. J. 243, (2002) (citations omitted) Picture Ommitted

9 Semantic Network Theory “Research has shown that ‘ideas with any sort of structure are better recalled than unstructured lists of ideas.’... [W]hat separates expert and novice problem solvers is the well-developed and interconnected knowledge networks of the experts that facilitate both the interpretation and solution of a problem." Peter A. Hook, Creating an Online Tutorial and Pathfinder, 94 Law Libr. J. 243, 249 (2002) (citations omitted)

10 The Power of a Good Conceptual Framework In the classic Greek philosophical text, Meno, Socrates proves that even an ignorant slave boy can deduce the Pythagorean Theorem with the power of reason and the aid of a simple model sketched in the dirt.

11 Why Use Conceptual Frameworks with Electronic Media? Simple transfer of text from print resources doesn’t capture potential

12 Why Use Conceptual Frameworks with Electronic Media? Simple transfer of text from print resources doesn’t capture potential “Just-in-time learning”

13 Why Use Conceptual Frameworks with Electronic Media? Simple transfer of text from print resources doesn’t capture potential “Just-in-time learning” Non-linear capabilities of multi-media

14 Why Use Conceptual Frameworks with Electronic Media? Simple transfer of text from print resources doesn’t capture potential “Just-in-time learning” Non-linear capabilities of multi-media Nesting of layers of information Another example

15 Why Use Conceptual Frameworks with Electronic Media? Simple transfer of text from print resources doesn’t capture potential “Just-in-time learning” Non-linear capabilities of multi-media Nesting of information layers Learn at user’s pace

16 Why Use Conceptual Frameworks with Electronic Media? Simple transfer of text from print resources doesn’t capture potential “Just-in-time learning” Non-linear capabilities of multi-media Nesting of information layers Learn at user’s pace Schemata and schema in interface design

17 On Schema in HCI “A schema is a diagrammatic outline of something that conveys its essential characteristics. One understands incoming information to the extent that it conforms to our schema or ways of knowing. If it fits a predefined pattern, it can be understood and incorporated into the knowledge base. If it doesn't, it is gibberish.” Kent L. Norman, The Psychology of Menu Selection: Designing Cognitive Control at the Human/Computer Interface § (1991) (available at

18 What’s the Schema?

19 Why Use Conceptual Frameworks with Electronic Media? Simple transfer of text from print resources doesn’t capture potential “Just-in-time learning” Non-linear capabilities of multi-media Nesting of information layers Learn at user’s pace Schemata and schema in interface design Learning styles “Death to bullet points”

20 Part II Kinds of Frameworks or Our Tool Chest

21 Kinds of Frameworks Structural Functional Metaphorical Narrative Relational Formulaic Contrastive Complemental Oppositional Analytic Systemic Computational Environmental

22 Structural Frameworks How it works From the designer’s perspective Doesn’t reveal how it functions (or how to operate it)

23 Functional Frameworks How to use it From the user’s perspective Minimum of necessary information

24 Example of Functional Framework in Legal Research Context

25 Second Example of Functional Framework Peter Hook, Federal Legislative History Tutorial & PathfinderFederal Legislative History Tutorial & Pathfinder

26 Metaphorical Emphasizes characteristics by another object (the metaphor) in which the features are more pronounced Accomplished by overlaying subject with metaphor

27 Narrative Uses story (hopefully one that is memorable) The story must have some sort of meaning which can be extracted from it “My first assignment as a law clerk was not to ‘Shepardize’ a case or find some statute, but to determine the average retirement age of female OBGYN physicians in California. The IRS had challenged actuarial assumptions for the defined benefit plan of one the firm’s prominent clients. Not surprisingly, I hadn’t a clue of where to start.”

28 Relational Frameworks Emphasizes relationships of two or more subjects in terms of characteristics and attributes Spatial layout is important Table based upon Christopher G. Wren and Jill Robinson Wren, The Teaching of Legal Research, 80 Law Libr. J. 7, 35 (Matrix A) (1988). See also Christopher G. Wren and Jill Robinson Wren, The Legal Research Manual 17 (fig. K) (2d ed. 1986).

29 Second Example of Relational Framework

30 Formulaic Sets the relationship of certain concepts down in mathematical, scientific or other formula Emphasis is on economy and precision of communication Two Measures of a Search Precision = (RetRel)/(All Doc’s Retrieved) Recall = (RetRel)/(All Relevant Documents) (RetRel strands for the relevant documents retrieved) Rule for terms and connectors: if you have more than one connector, use parentheses to control the search.

31 Contrastive Frameworks Emphasizes what’s different Contrast examples, not just definitions Goal is to cultivate discernment What’s different must be important Helpful to provide technical criteria or nomenclature for making distinctions

32 Example of Contrastive Framework in Legal Research Context The table is based upon a similar taxonomy developed in Jean L. Sears & Marilyn K. Moody, Using Government Information Sources: Print and Electronic 6-9 (2nd ed., 1994).

33 Complemental Frameworks Complemental Frameworks Illustrates a reciprocal or complementary relationship As one subject increases the other decreases

34 Oppositional Frameworks Oppositional Frameworks Describes the opposing force Identifies forces to be “overcome” Source: Claude E. Shannon & Warren Weaver, Mathematical Theory of Communication (1949) (Downie’s adaptation)

35 Analytic Frameworks Emphasizes the what something is made up of Details constituent elements and prerequisites Need criteria for analysis

36 2 nd Example of Analytic Framework

37 Systemic Frameworks Emphasizes the “big picture” Depicts one or more subjects in relation to the whole Genus or family is important

38 Second Example of Systemic Framework

39 Computational Frameworks Allow manipulation Permit calculation of a result

40 HTML Coding Interactive Rollovers .. ....

41 Environmental Frameworks Show environment or ecosystem of a subject Attempt to describe holistically how environment and subject affect each other Source: Richard Saul Wurman, The Non-Information Explosion, in Information Anxiety (1989)

42 Summary of Frameworks Structural Functional Metaphorical Narrative Relational Formulaic Contrastive Complemental Oppositional Analytic Systemic Computational Environmental

43 Part III Application or Now You Try It

44 Assignment: In small groups, discuss what problems you would anticipate in teaching first-year law students to use a legal periodical index such as LegalTrac or Index to Legal Periodicals.

45 What Problems Do You Anticipate? Understanding what is being searched Searching using subject v. keyword Understanding how results are presented and the nature of relevancy ranked searching Understanding the nature of subject fields and their relationship to human indexers (in contrast to “full- text” algorithmic searches) Knowing when to use the resource

46 Use conceptual frameworks to address any conceptual issues.

47 Contrastive

48 Functional

49 Discussion of Application How can you use this? What are the strengths (benefits)? What are the weaknesses (dangers, problems)?

50 “We do not first see, and then define, We define first, and then see.” The End “We do not first see, and then define, We define first, and then see.” --Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion 81 (7 th printing, 1961) The End


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