Digital Research Tips: a mini-workshop RESEARCH.jpg

to request additional information that would be helpful - just click on the "discussion" tab above and then click "new post."

Basic Steps for Research -

thesis assignment (when applicable)

interest in topic

pre-writing: freewriting, brainstorming, outlining, mapping, focused conversation

finding and sorting reliable sources

significant reading WITH careful note taking AND annotation of texts (OED for vocabulary)

thesis invention (if not assigned)

locating and accurately copying relevant citations AND writing about their significance

working thesis (if not assigned)

revision drafting for thesis evolution

final thesis (if not assigned)

revision drafting for development



UR Writer's Web online writing handbook


UR Writer's Web APA Style page

Research practices as "markup" for readers -











Research practices as "trail markers" for researchers -

Though sometimes the "picky" details of research formatting can be frustrating to learn and practice, they can be easily mastered - but why? They are more than a tool for teachers to check for plagiarism - we can do that on Google more easily. However, such formatting details like providing an abstract, citing the source of a quotation or providing a list of references are like trail markers to researchers or other readers who may want to know more.

One of my essays with explanatory markup and some APA citation examples -

"A Serviceable Hypertext: Teaching Tools for Exploring and Expanding Boundaries"

LAC Model essay.doc

(below is an excerpt - formatting is non-standard)

A Serviceable Hypertext: Teaching Tools for Exploring and Expanding Boundaries

Early Multimedia
When we discuss teaching and technology, it is surprising how rarely we consider one of our earliest combinations of the two: the fire circle. Close your[[#_msocom_1|[LC1]]] eyes and envision yourself sitting around a campfire, listening to its hiss and crackle, smelling smoky incense, feeling fiery warmth and staring into the flickering flames as a storyteller dramatically spins a web of aural images (digital audio & scent unavailable). Most of us will experience a profound nostalgia and fond memories at such a suggestion, but as the digital revolution washes over us, our next campfire may be on the i-Pod and the storyteller compressed to a dull digital dimness. Regardless of hyped claims for HDTV and other ‘virtual’ technologies, the direct experience of immediate physical presence offers a simultaneous multi-sensory encounter that cannot be fully replicated by digitality. The fire, the storyteller, the audience and the environment all combine to form a kind of multimedia experience that humans have performed and enjoyed for most of human history.
Luddism, Technology & Community[[#_msocom_2|[LC2]]]
Having begun with such an observation, some might assume me to be a technophobic Luddite, but this is far from the truth. The label “Luddite” is too often a rhetorical strategy meant to discredit any who challenge, critique or resist new technologies, attributing to them a simple-minded resistance to change; but the Luddites of history were no knee-jerk technophobes. The Luddism I identify with is that described by Iain Boal in Resisting the Virtual Life , a Luddism whose resistance is focused on the social consequences of technology rather than on a general fear of the new or the profit of the few. In his essay “A Flow of Monsters” Boal notes a lesson from the Amish who don’t reject all technology outright (some use phones), but who exercise a selective process that emphasizes the needs of the community and examines the impact of technologies on their community of human relationships as the priority in their selection.
Rather than simply resist or reject technology, the Luddites and the Amish prioritized the human community by critical selection rather than thoughtless embrace.
Martin Ryder of the University of Colorado’s School of Education explains:
The original Luddite revolt occurred in 1811, an action against the English Textile factories that displaced craftsmen in favor of machines. Today's Luddites continue to raise moral and ethical arguments against the excesses of modern technology to the extent that our inventions and our technical systems have evolved to control us rather than to serve us and to the extent that such leviathans can threaten our essential humanity.
As teachers, we should be suspicious of any rhetoric (corporate, administrative or academic) that attempts to railroad us into an uncritical celebration and adoption of any technology that comes our way, but at the same time we should be actively engaging with new technologies so that we may renew our relevance to our students and enhance our own intellect with the unique challenges that new technologies pose[[#_msocom_3|[LC3]]] .
Purpose & Rationale
I have been experimenting with and deploying hypertext and other digital media in my classes to teach compositional competence and critical thinking as well as to convey content. The purpose of this “Serviceable Hypertext” is, like hypertext itself, multivalent and meant to be a tool for teachers as well as their students by providing an example of a simple poem hypertext with a “screen capture” of the process of building it to help new web designers get started. The hypertext will also include links to a brief history of the Web and the development of hypertext as well as a sampling of the theoretical aspects of this new medium. My choice of Service’s non-canonical poetry is deliberate as[[#_msocom_4|[LC4]]] it leads to discussions of the literary/artistic canon, its formation and impact. The regular rhyme scheme used by Service, while often considered ‘unfashionable’ or ‘unsophisticated’ in artistic or academic circles, lends itself well to discussions of oral tradition, mnemonic strategies and the differences between oral and written expression while providing engaging material for student memorization. The expansive and exploratory nature of hypertext has encouraged me to cross disciplinary as well as canonical boundaries[[#_msocom_5|[LC5]]] so that this hypertext could be used classes on history, science, geography, astronomy, psychology, sociology, biology and technology as well as English[[#_msocom_6|[LC6]]] .
As newcomers to the new world of digitality, our critical assessment of and engagement with these new tools is particularly important because our students have grown up with computers, making technology a nearly invisible, naturalized part of their environment; our experience of the pre-digital world is a crucial contextualizing asset rather than a shame. As Bill McKibben observes in The Age of Missing Information, important[[#_msocom_7|[LC7]]] knowledge and relevant ways of living and learning, ways of knowing that are being swept away in the torrent of our ‘information age’ and we digital immigrants possess some of this and we can pass it on[[#_msocom_8|[LC8]]] .
Intercultural Encounters, Speed & Learning
When, in 1991, Marc Prensky coined the term “digital native” for those born into the information age and grew up with new media, I didn’t even know I was a “digital immigrant” who was just beginning my lifelong journey of scaling the never-ending learning curve of technology.
In 1992, when I bought my first computer[[#_msocom_9|[LC9]]] , I bought it mainly for word processing, and there were only 50 websites on the Web. In 1995 this number grew to 25,000; in 2002 it jumped to 9,040,000 and now there are billions of websites on the Web. These numbers are for sites that have multiple pages, so the total number of web pages is easily in the hundreds of billions. A recent Pew study also[[#_msocom_10|[LC10]]] reveals huge increases in high-speed access to the Web encourages further growth as Web surfers use new digital tools to produce and post their own content. And now that TIME Magazine has named YouTube one of the best inventions of 2006, some of this new content has a place to go.
The speed of this unprecedented change is itself without precedent and the pace increases as new computers build upon and expand the capacities and speeds of their predecessors. For this reason alone, digital immigrants who teach should descend, if not dive, into this maelstrom and engage with the joys of intellectual challenge and creative exploration. Prensky advocates openness, courage and a playful attitude for best results:
As educators, we must take our cues from our students' 21st century innovations and behaviors, abandoning, in many cases, our own predigital instincts and comfort zones. Teachers must practice putting engagement before content when teaching. They need to laugh at their own digital immigrant accents, pay attention to how their students learn, and value and honor what their students know. They must remember that they are teaching in the 21st century. (“Listen”)
As each successive generation demonstrates increasing technical sophistication, professional educators will have to rise to the challenge or find a new calling. No doubt excellent teaching can and will continue to occur with or without advanced technology, but it is equally clear that students and administrators will increasingly expect a technological proficiency from those who teach. Those who rise to this challenge are sure to experience an intellectual growth that can only enhance their professional status.

The use of “you”, “your” and “I” is non-standard for academic writing but, when carefully used, are gaining acceptance in some disciplines. Here I am attempt to “hook” reader interest by inviting them to imagine a shared experience.
Use of subtitles can help organize writing and clarify transitions.
THESIS Statement
Taking a risk is very important for good writing – repeating the known and the safe often makes a weak case and is boring to read.
Here I trace my thinking and forecast discussion of canon.
This paragraph makes a brief but specifically detailed argument for the value of Service’s poetry.
Some citations are located “in-line” in the sentence rather than in parentheses at the end – a publication date would improve this citation.
My brief mention of the phrase “digital immigrants” helps transition to my explanation of the origin of the term.
Establishing chronological context with specific details or “situating” the discussion. Could be revised to eliminate first person and should include source references.
Should be more specific and mention date and possibly funding. TIME reference should include author and date.