Knowledge Construction – Articles
Gordon, C. A. (2009) “Pondering A Peruvian Mystery, Parts 1 and 2: The Historian’s Way of Knowing.” “The Aesthetic Way of Knowing.” Connections: Papers of the Treasure Mountain Research Retreat, November 4-5, 2009. Charlotte, North Carolina: Hi Willow Publishing, 99-104 and 105-114.
These articles define historical and aesthetic inquiry in terms of the questions these disciplines ask and their ways of knowing, or the ways evidence is collected and analyzed. The underlying premise is that there are realms to which academic disciplines belong. These realms serve as prisms that break down the light of human knowledge into distinct “colors”, or realms of meaning. Historical and aesthetic knowledge are kinds of inquiry: the former is based on a search for truth; the latter is characterized by imagination. The rainbow concept of realms of meaning precludes a one-size-fits-all approach to “doing research, suggesting multiple models of inquiry.
Todd, R. J (2006). From information to knowledge: Charting and Measuring Changes in Students’ Knowledge of a Curriculum Topic. Information Research, 11(4). Available at: http://www.informationr.net/ir/11-4/paper264.html
This research sought to investigate how school students build on their existing knowledge of a curriculum topic and transform found information into personal knowledge, and how their knowledge of this topic changes. The qualitative study involved 574 students from Grades 6 to 12 in ten New Jersey schools. The context for data collection was an instructional program framed by Kuhlthau’s information search process. Data were collected through surveys at the initiation, midpoint and conclusion of the instructional program. The instruments sought to measure changes in knowledge, specifically in relation to substance of knowledge, structure of knowledge, amount of knowledge, estimate of extent of knowledge, and label of knowledge. It was possible to operationalize knowledge change in terms of substance, amount and structure of knowledge, and user-centered perceptions of knowledge growth. Additive and integrative approaches to knowledge development were identified. Students came to know more about their topics, and perceived that they knew more as they progressed through the task. However, students seemed more oriented to gathering facts and knowing a set of facts, and accumulating these in an additive manner, rather than building complex, integrated and abstract knowledge representations.
Todd, R.J. (2005). “School Librarians and Educational Leadership: Productive Pedagogy for the Information Age School” Selected Papers from the 34th Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarians (IASL) & the 9th International Forum on research in School Librarianship.
This study is based on a sample of 43 students in Grade 9 in a New Jersey school (21 girls, 22 boys). The participants undertook a semester long course “Research Project” which focused on developing students’ critical skills in research, reading, writing and presentation of ideas. This small study sought to understand more fully the knowledge construction process of students as they engage in sustained use of a range of information sources to build knowledge of a curriculum topic.
Todd, R. J. (1999). Utilization of heroin information by adolescent girls in Australia: A cognitive analysis.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50(1), 10-23.
This article reports on a study that investigates how older adolescents cognitively utilize information on the drug, heroin. With a small group of four girls in their final year of secondary education, the study sought to: (a) establish the perceived effects of exposures to information; (b) establish how the perceived effects are associated with changes to the girls’ knowledge structures; and (c) establish any patterns in relation to changes in knowledge structures and perceived effects. The study employed a quasi-experimental, repeated-phase approach. The girls’ existing knowledge structures about the drug, heroin, were elicited and mapped, as were knowledge structures after each of three exposures to different information on heroin. The knowledge structures after each exposure were shown to change by cognitive strategies of appending, inserting, and deleting. Five types of effects, as types of cognitive information utilization, were identified, these being: Get a complete picture, get a changed picture, get a clearer picture, get a verified picture, and get a position in a picture. The study also showed that there was coherence between the effects and how these effects were manifested in changes to the girls’ knowledge structures. This article also discusses important implications for information practice and instructional design.
Todd, R. J. (1999). Back to our beginnings: Information utilization, Bertram Brookes and the Fundamental Equation of Information Science. Information Processing & Management, 35, 851-870.
This analytical paper is in three parts. Firstly, it provides a brief review of the terrain of information utilization, a fundamental concept in the discourse of information seeking and use behavior. This review identifies dominant conceptualizations of information utilization, and identifies a research gap in relation to the cognitive dimensions of information utilization. Secondly, against this backdrop, it posits and examines Bertram Brookes’ Fundamental Equation of Information Science as a theoretical framework for furthering our understanding of, and research into, the cognitive aspects of information utilization. Thirdly, it discusses some methodological aspects for investigating Brookes’ Equation in order to build a cumulative knowledge of the cognitive dimension of information utilization.
Gordon, C. (1996). “Is Fish a Vegetable?: A Qualitative Study of a Ninth Grade Research Project” School Library Media Quarterly, 25(1), 27-33. Available at: gordon_is_fish_a_vegetable.pdf
This article documents a qualitative study of 15 ninth grade math students required to write a paper showing how math is used in the real world revealed differences in how teachers and students perceive research. Discusses student and teacher interpretations of the project; student reactions to the process, support materials, and grades; and student feelings about the school library media center.