ACTIVITY: Researching a topic

Researching a topic

Pick a non-abstract subject, well-defined, about which you do not know very much. Some suggestions follow, but really, it could be anything: but do make it something real, not an abstract idea. So pick something like:Sir Joseph Whitworth

  • a historical figure (like this gentleman on the right: this is Sir Joseph Whitworth, the man who gave his name to many public buildings throughout Manchester including the main hall at Manchester University.)
  • an obscure organ of the human body. I mean, what does the spleen do? Do you know? I have no idea.
  • a work of literature.
  • a town or region. Be as obscure as you like, go randomly into an atlas or Google Earth.

Quickly research and write a 500-word summary piece about it. Cite your references. There is no reason to spend more than half an hour or so on this task.

Obligatory words of reassurance at this point: You are NOT being assessed on this in any way and frankly it does not matter what the quality of your final ‘paper’ is like. That is, nothing you do with it will affect your certification for following this course unit. This is merely a vehicle for you to engage with the real intention of this activity, which is to self-assess your performance on this task with reference to the standard IL guidelines.

This is a two-part activity in that the actual reflection will take place in topic 5. For now, however, it will help to write down some notes on:

  • what search strategies you used
  • where you looked for information
  • how you evaluated the credibility of the information you found
  • whether there were contradictions in any of the information you found from different sources, and if so, how you resolved them.

Please save your notes, as we will be returning to this task in topic 5 and analysing it in a slightly different way.

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