• Research Scavenger Hunts - Modern Regulatory State

    Author(s):
    Ashton Merck (see profile)
    Date:
    2021
    Subject(s):
    Economic history
    Item Type:
    Course material or learning objects
    Tag(s):
    historical databases, historical thinking, primary source analysis, undergraduate research
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/005k-3h55
    Abstract:
    When I led a group of researchers on a summer research project in 2017, I developed the first version of what I came to call a “scavenger hunt” assignment. The goal of this assignment is to use a series of small tasks, completed over a confined time period (one day, or one class period) to quickly and effectively introduce students to basic research methods in the humanities and interpretive social sciences that we often take for granted. It also serves as a “diagnostic” for me to know how much or how little the students already know about research. In particular, this assignment focuses on how to locate and evaluate both primary and secondary sources, using a wide variety of research databases, book reviews, footnote-checking, and filtering strategies in the library catalog. Earlier versions of this assignment included a section where students had to physically visit the stacks in person, and an extra credit piece in which students tracked down an article using microfilm or microfiche. Over the years I have refined it based on lessons learned from previous experiences. I often tailor the specific requests or recommended databases based on the type of research students will be doing. The version above is focused on research for a class on the history of policy and regulation, but the basic template could be adjusted to focus on research on other places, subjects, and time periods. Students frequently report that this assignment challenged them to use sources or search strategies they had never used before, and that before completing this assignment, they had no idea of the depth and breadth of library resources that were available to them as university students.
    Notes:
    I would love to hear from you if you use this assignment, and to see your versions of this scavenger hunt!
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

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