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Research as Inquiry

Spark Seminar Resource for Faculty

General Education @ UC Merced

GE Self Study & External Review (program motivation)

“UC Merced’s GE program should focus on developing students’ inquiry and research skills and abilities, preferably organized according to important contemporary issues.” (2)

Faculty-Staff Retreat, May 2014 (creating Hallmarks)

Hallmark #1 -- "Depth and breadth in academic and intellectual preparation, consistent with the values of a research university …"

c. Bring a critical, evaluative lens to problems, questions, situations;

d. Employ effective problem-solving skills in multiple settings

f. Evaluate facts, knowledge and information, applying the variety aspects of information literacy

h. Demonstrate an inquiry-oriented approach to the world; ...

Faculty-Staff Retreat, June 2015 (creating Mission Statement and Program Learning Outcomes (6-8)

  • Life at the Research University: Asking Questions
  • Reasoning: Thinking Critically
  • Communication: Explaining and Persuading
  • Cultural and Global Awareness: Engaging with Differences
  • Citizenship: Contributing to the Public Good

Year One: Students will take a Spark seminar which explore the nature of inquiry through multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives and experiences. (9)

Program in Detail – Spark Seminar

b. Spark seminars introduce students to life at a research university.  They ask students to focus on the nature of inquiry by exploring a particular topic over the course of the semester, engaging with campus and/or local resources, generating research questions, and presenting original ideas in writing and other forms of communication (visual, oral, and/or numerical). (10)

from UC Merced's Final GE Proposal (27 April 2017)

Research Inquiry

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) adopted a Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in February 2015.

There are six information literacy frames.

Research as Inquiry

Research is an ongoing process to uncover and investigate questions – from simple questions to much more complicated ones.  Inquiry extends beyond academia to personal, professional, and societal problems.

Authority is Constructed and Contextual

Information Creation as a Process

Information Has Value

Scholarship as Conversation

Searching as Strategic Exploration

Framework Summary

question mark graphic

GeST Model

Generic (Ge), Situated (S), or Transformational (T) windows

  • instructors use them all
  • not a hierarchy; none is "better"

from Lupton, M., & Bruce, C.S. (2010). Windows on information literacy worlds: Generic, situated, and transformative perspectives. In Practising information literacy: Bringing theories of learning, practice and information literacy together (pp. 3-27). Wagga Wagga, New South Wales: Center for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.