Research Class

Part one:

I assume that most of us have heard of or searched Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org/). Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia based on “wiki”, which is a website that allows users to add, edit, or remove the content of an entry. Wikipedia is getting increasingly popular among general public users, but there is also an increasing concern in the academic world about whether we should use it and how we should use it in academic research as well as in our daily lives. It seems that we can neither simply embrace it nor simply reject it. People love to share information, especially the most current information, and Wikipedia provides a platform for people to do that despite their backgrounds or credentials. That is the beauty of Wikipedia, but also its challenge. Wikipedia has improved a great deal in keeping its information accurate and current, for example, by hiring more editors to review the information on its site and reviewing information more often, but the fact that anyone can change the information at any time always bothers teachers and professors. Here’s a funny story I heard from a student in one of my classes. She said once two of her friends (a couple) had a debate on a certain issue, but neither of them could agree with each other. During the night when the husband was asleep, the wife changed the content of a Wikipedia entry, of course, in favor of her own argument. Next morning, she showed the entry to her husband: “See, honey, I told you so.”

The following are some online articles that discuss Wikipedia from different perspectives.

1. This article is about an interview with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia (http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/1328/wikipedia-founder-discourages-academic-use-of-his-creation). Mr. Wales himself seems to discourage students from using his own product for academic research.

2. This article is from Stacy Schiff of the New Yorker magazine (http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/07/31/060731fa_fact ). The author seems to encourage people to embrace Wikipedia.

3. This is a relatively more current article that was published on March/April 2008 issue of ONLINE journal (http://www.infotoday.com/online/mar08/Badke.shtml). The author, William Badke, gives very insightful arguments and suggestions on how to use Wikipedia.

The following are more articles related to Wikipedia, if you are interested:

Part two:

Read the article “Adult Education and the Social Media Revolution,” available in the eReserves section of the classroom (attached). Pay particular attention to the references these authors make to the works of others. Every citation within this article is essentially a head nod to other authors who have written about the same or similar topics. Were they all in the same room, you could imagine the authors of this article pointing to or calling out those other authors while speaking. This is what we mean when we refer to research and writing as one big conversation, with all of the participants listening and responding to one another.

In a discussion post, point to an example from this article and explain how the authors do one of the following:

  • refer to another work in order to give legitimacy to their own point;
  • refer to another work in order to build upon the ideas of others; or
  • refer to another work in order to challenge that work.

If you select “refer to another work in order to give legitimacy to their own point,” first describe what the authors’ point is, then describe how the cited article supports that point.

If you select “refer to another work in order to build upon the ideas of others,” first describe what the ideas are, then describe how the authors build upon those ideas.

If you select “refer to another work in order to challenge that work”, first describe what is being challenged, then describe how the authors are challenging the cited work.

Then, give an example from your own life in which you rely upon the work of others to complete a task or accomplish a goal. (This example might be from your workplace, community, or academic life.)

Scoring:

0-2 points: Post does not identify an example from the text or an example from the student’s life.

3-4 points: Post identifies examples, but fails to adequately describe/discuss those examples within the stated context.

5 points: Post identifies examples from both the text and the student’s life and fully explains the significance of these examples within the stated context.

*** these are discussion board topic; keep brief while answering topic properly***

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