Information Exploration: Becoming a Savvy Scholar – MIT 3.093

This 2006 MIT OpenCourseWare course provides guidance on the scientific publishing cycle, finding and evaluating information, citing sources, and other aspects of research. The course is designed to introduce first year students to the scientific research process and provide them with the skill necessary to find, evaluate and use information successfully throughout their educational careers.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for this course include:

* gaining a better understanding of the research environment.

* becoming a more effective researcher.

* developing a scientific communication foundation.

Course Organization

The course is based on 13 lectures, each associated with an aspect of information retrieval, use, and citation. Six organized assignments are given out during the course, and research logs are maintained and graded by the professor as part of the assignments. Additionally, students are requested to review tutorial modules and answer questions associated with them.

The resources provided for this MIT OpenCourseWare course don't align clearly with the schedule posted on the MIT OCW site. Therefore, the ordering of assignments, tutorial modules, and research logs and their due dates on this site may not align exactly as intended by the original professor.

No videos and audio recordings are associated with this course. This leaves some of the sessions bereft of value. An attempt was made to add a "Recommended Reading" session to each session to add value to those sessions.

Information about research logs

Research logs were associated with each assignment for this course. The purpose of these logs was to make you think about your search process as you record your steps, and for the instructors to get a sense of how the search process was improving over the semester. Research logs were to be e-mailed to the instructor before class began on the date the assignment was due.

The following elements were encouraged in each research log, using any format you wish (text, screen shots, charts, tables, etc.):

* the name(s) of the database(s), Web site(s), book(s), or other source(s) you used to find information for the assignment

* a description of why you specifically chose those sources for your information search, including justification

* a description of your search process, including the steps you took, the keywords you searched, and how you went about searching

* an explaination of the results you got from each source: did you find what the information you expected to find; were your results scholarly/academic in nature; and which results did you select and why?

* the amount of time you spent searching each source

* a description of your emotional response to the experience: were you frustrated, confused, confident, worried about time, etc.?

Sample research logs:

Sample 1 (PDF)
Sample 2 (PDF)

Information about tutorial module reviews

Module Review assignments were an important part of this course. The course instructors expected honest feedback on the modules, with intent to revise them for future students.

Each module review needed to include the following elements:

* a description of what you learned from each module: did you learn new information or did you already know that content?

* an explanation of if the module met your expectations of what you needed to learn, including why or why not

* an explanation of how you would ideally like to learn the content presented in the module: via an online module, via a lecture, or via another method (e.g. read it on a Web page).

* a description of how you liked the delivery: did the module move too slowly or too quickly; were the graphics interesting; and was the module interactive enough?

* feedback on the quiz at the end of the module: were the questions challenging enough, and were there too many or too few questions?

* answers to the following: were there things discussed in class that were not included in the module, and do you think it should be included in the module? If so, how?

* any additional feedback you have about the content, presentation, or delivery of the modules

Further Reading

Aside from the assignments and tutorial reviews, no recommended reading was originally associated with these sessions. Any recommended reading attached to sessions is additional to the original MIT OCW content.

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