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Conversational Metaphor for Teaching Research Writing Paula McMillen & Eric Hill Oregon State University Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities.

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Presentation on theme: "Conversational Metaphor for Teaching Research Writing Paula McMillen & Eric Hill Oregon State University Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conversational Metaphor for Teaching Research Writing Paula McMillen & Eric Hill Oregon State University Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities Jan 16, 2005

2 About Research… We could probably define “research” generally as the seeking out of information new to the seeker, for a purpose, and we would probably agree that the researcher usually has to interpret, evaluate, and organize that information before it acquires value. (Larson, 1982, p.812)

3 Overview Research –An Activity & Conversation Assessment Conversation Rationale for the Conversational Model Bringing the Conversation into the Classroom

4 Research Activity: Step 1 Find 1 item in your ‘research’ packet that you would feel most comfortable explaining to someone else Make a couple of notes about what you would say This will be your ‘talkable’ item

5 Research Activity: Step 2 Find 1 item in your ‘research’ packet that you are least familiar with How would you talk to someone about this item? Make a couple of notes about this item This will be your ‘unfamiliar’ item

6 Research Activity: Step 3 Turn to someone near you and talk about the process of selecting your 2 items (your ‘talkable’ & ‘unfamiliar’ items) Do not attempt to explain or talk about your items just yet

7 Research Activity: Step 4 Find someone with a packet different than your own (If you have an ‘A’, find a person with ‘B’ and vice versa) Share the ‘unfamiliar’ item in your packet with your partner See if you can make more sense of your ‘unfamiliar’ item through this conversation

8 Rubric Developed collaboratively by composition and library instruction programs at UNM (Emmons & Martin, 2003) Descriptive information Categories, sub-categories, and 4 levels of performance

9 Mean Frequency: Types of Materials Cited

10 Mode scores for Relevance, Credibility & Engagement

11 Inspiration for the Conversational Metaphor Information Literacy (library science) Burkean Parlor (rhetoric and composition)

12 Information Literacy Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” (ALA-ACRL [2000]. Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Chicago: The Association, p.2)

13 The Burkean Parlor Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress. (Burke, K. [1941]. The philosophy of Literary Form; Studies in Symbolic Action. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, p )

14 Rationale for selecting the conversational metaphor Conversation is a familiar activity/idea for students Learning to do research is like learning a 2 nd language –another familiar idea Conversation & research writing are both interactive processes Conversation & research writing are both situated in context (time & place)

15 Rationale for selecting the conversational metaphor Conversation and research writing are both recursive processes We construct meaning from conversations just as we should with research writing Conversation is a metaphor that is easily shared across disciplines

16 Bringing the conversation into the classroom Create a graduated approach to using outside resources – start small, use in multiple assignments Specify expectations for engaging with resources – share assessment criteria Reinforce conversational/rhetorical approach to research – provide a bridge between the metaconversation and the conversational metaphor

17 Summary The metaphor of conversation can serve to: reveal the similarities between and integration of the writing and research processes invite and equip students to participate in scholarly discourse facilitate conversation across disciplines

18 About conversation… Conversation was and is an essential activity of human beings and one that informs, critically evaluates, and provides energy and renewal for their life together…Conversation can be of utmost seriousness…Conversation can be purely playful…conversation, the most general and inclusive activity of human connectedness. (Bechtel, 1986, p.221)

19 For additional information: /Hawaii05.ppt


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