CFP: Beyond Google: Teaching Humanistic Research Skills

Despite claims of a tech-savvy, “digital native” student body, college instructors often find many students’ research skills are limited. For this dossier, we seek essays that address approaches for teaching humanistic research methods, speak to connections between teaching scholarly research and more general informational literacy, and/or discuss the tricky task of helping students become motivated and excited to undertake research projects. How can we teach research skills in compelling and creative ways? While media departments often offer courses in research methods that focus on specific qualitative and quantitative methods, humanistic research skills are often taught primarily through courses focusing first on substantive topic matter and skills based learning can become a lower priority. We’re looking for creative ideas for making research a lively and engaging process for students. Essays might address these topics:

  • Learning to use databases and sophisticated search techniques
  • Working in libraries and with librarians
  • Working with limited collections or resources
  • Using citation managers and tools for organizing research
  • Collaborative or team research projects
  • Exploring online media archives with students
  • Using the National Digital Public Library of America
  • Making research exciting and engaging for students
  • Integrating research into media projects other than traditional papers
  • Grappling with the meaning and ethics of plagiarism and paraphrasing
  • Game-ifying research skill acquisition—scavenger hunts, competitions, and other creative approaches
  • Evaluating source credibility
  • Scholarly research vs. informational literacy
  • Lessons from failures with research projects

If you have ideas for addressing these or related topics, please submit a 300-word abstract for a proposed 1500-word essay, briefly describing the essay topic and how it connects to the Dossier topic, as well as a 150-word biography highlighting courses taught or other relevant experience. Proposals should be submitted to Tony Nadler ( and Alice Leppert ( by July 20, 2014. Completed essays (including all images and links) will be due on Sept 20, 2014.


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