Faculty Publications

Title

Mental Models of Research: Generating Authentic Questions

Document Type

Article

Keywords

inquiry, instruction, learning communities, pedagogy, teaching methods

Journal/Book/Conference Title

College Teaching

Volume

58

Issue

1

First Page

8

Last Page

14

Abstract

In this paper, we question how we might disrupt positivist research paradigms that preclude students from engaging and experiencing ownership in the research process. We question what we, as professors, could do to facilitate the transition from traditional research reporting to a disposition of inquiry that allows for ambiguity and discovery in the research process. Evidence presented was gathered over the course of a two-year qualitative research project completed in a capstone education course. Like most capstone courses, we required a summative research paper, but student work suggested they had minimal interest or enthusiasm for the project. However, by redirecting our students' research interest from traditional research reporting to the generation of authentic research questions drawn from their student teaching experience, a solution emerged. The students' questions provided the basis for the ensuing qualitative inquiry project that afforded them a new and authentic type of inquiry. This paper describes the process our students engaged in to complete this qualitative inquiry, including the identification of the research question and analysis of field notes and documents. It concludes by sharing samples of the students' research questions and findings that illustrate the authentic inquiry and ownership they experienced as a result of the project.

Original Publication Date

12-17-2009

DOI of published version

10.1080/87567550903263834

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