ARW-2 is a two week investigation of the finer points of advanced research reading. Much of this workshop material is borrowed from and/or inspired by William Badke's, Research Strategies (see Links page for more info)

Key Topics for the Workshop

1. Working Knowledge
2. Research Model
3. The "good, bad, and ugly" Research Question
4. Triage Reading (aka Research Reading)
5. Rough Writing, aka taking notes

1. Working Knowledge

In research, Working Knowledge is defined as

"knowledge of a topic when you can talk about it for one minute without repeating yourself. To start your research, all you need to do is acquire one minute’s knowledge.One minute?” you say. “I’ve been told I have to present a fifteen page research paper with a dozen footnotes including appropriate journal references (whatever they are). Why talk to me about one minute of working knowledge?” I do so for the same reason that you take a flashlight with you to avoid stumbling around when it’s dark. A working knowledge gives you the basics of a topic and enough light so that you won’t hurt yourself as you move on into more complicated territory. It isn’t complete knowledge, but it’s enough to tell you what the topic entails, what its boundaries are, even what some of its controversies,mysteries and dangers might be" (Badke 21).

Badke's analogy to the flashlight is wonderful. Essentially, you can not wait for the sun to rise to move forward. A working knowledge, like a flashlight, will get you started moving. Obtaining a working knowledge is as easy as asking (and then answering) "who, what, when, where, and maybe (given your topic) why and how." Established reference material, whether print or digital, is the best place to start gathering a working knowledge. Reference materials also function as a great inflated annotated bibliography.

2. The Research Model

Real research is not gathering and reorganizing information. Real research is using information as a tool is solve a problem or address an issue.

Badke has a wonderful graphic to help describe the process -

He also has a mini tutorial linked here

3. Questions on Research Questions - the Good, Bad, and the Ugly.

Definition of Good—The project not only has a question, but that question leads to a problem-solving exercise in which information is a tool, not an end in itself.
Definition of Bad—The project has a fairly narrow topic but the question is merely informational in its goal.
Definition of Ugly—The project not only merely gathers information, but is itself a survey of a broad subject area without any question to answer.
3.1 - Please read the following questions and for each question determine if it is either a good, bad, or ugly research question. Your choices should be accompanied with a few sentences explaining your judgment. Have your answers ready for Wednesday's class (2/9).This exercise is borrowed from William Badke's Research Strategies

1. Did Martin Luther, the German reformer, write anything critizing Judaism?
2. What effect does homelessness have on the price of beds in Canada?
3. What is Bill gates doing with all his money?
4. Is there evidence that changes in emphasis in Boston's Child Welfare Program in the past five years are the results from negative media attention?
5. What happened in Iraq in 2003?
6. How could the looting of museums in Iraq in 2003 have been avoided?
7. What are the main features of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and what can be done to both treat and prevent this condition? Should all alcohol containers carry a warning?
8. What are the ethical implications of human cloning?

3.2 - Review your SYP question and determine if it's "good, bad, or ugly"

4. Triage Reading

5. Rough Writing - Taking notes