Scholarship as Conversation

Scholarship as Conversation

September 10, 2019 1 By Ronny Jaskolski


Approaching a daunting research project in college may feel like sailing directly toward an Iceberg of information However understanding the context of information and knowledge surrounding a topic can give you the skills to successfully sail around it For instance, consider the WVU researchers who reported Volkswagens pollution violations When stories like this make the news, it shows the power of research When you do research in college you may struggle with the notion of seeking out multiple sources You may wonder, don’t they all pretty much say the same thing? You see, one source may not represent the whole or the majority of perspectives related to your topic It may not give you enough of the context for the research of the topic Think of the sources as the tip of that iceberg underneath exists a large body of perspectives, interpretations, rebuttals, etc and much like that iceberg this colossal body of research took a long time to form Scholarly conversation is just like that. Over a period of time within a community of scholars researchers or professionals Multiple people are sharing insights and discoveries Numerous conversations are taking place and people are not always agreeing with one another new knowledge arises from these conversations and disagreements When you try to join a scholarly conversation Keep in mind that the conversation has been going on for quite some time, it is dynamic, and it is not finished yet In order to join the conversation you will need the vocabulary for speaking the same language as the other researchers in order to make sense of it all you will also need background knowledge of the issues and an understanding about the research methods for the particular discipline While listening to the conversation You will need to find out who is saying what and if there are any gaps in the ongoing conversation Using footnotes works cited or references can lead you to additional insights Finding out which studies and authors are cited the most will help you judge who is credible and influential in the field Armed with the newly acquired knowledge based on the analysis of your sources now it is your turn to speak up Even experts were beginners at one point. You never know what kind of impact your voice may have and what more conversations it may ignite Perhaps your research paper does not have quite the same magnitude as the WVU engineering team who brought down Volkswagen However, never underestimate that power because it may just trigger an industry avalanche