Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
COVID-19 Library Dashboard
Get the latest information on the status of library services and space.
 Ask a Question

Research as Inquiry: Spark & Research as Inquiry

Library resources for SPARK courses

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.