thing 9: Scholarship as Conversation

Recommended Readings, Resources, and Examples

Carroll, A. J., & Dasler, R. (2015). “Scholarship is a Conversation”: Discourse, Attribution, and Twitter’s Role in Information Literacy Instruction.

Choose Your Own Adventure Activity

Select one of the following activities to complete:

  1. Locate an example of an article or lesson plan that describes an approach to teaching using the frame Scholarship is a Conversation. In a comment, post a link to the article or lesson plan (or a citation if paywalled) along with a short summary of what you read. How could you adapt or build upon this approach at your own institution?
  2. Drawing inspiration from one of the recommended readings, draft your own lesson plan related to the frame Scholarship is a Conversation. Upload your lesson plan to Project CORA and/or the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy Sandbox, and post a link to it here.


  1. I wish I had more time to cover this in the instruction sessions I perform. Luckily, one of the primary databases I use gives a snapshot of how a research article might exists within the context of larger research. We cover citation chasing from bibliographies as a way to find primary sources and/or double check what is being put forth in a research article. (I’ve used Wikipedia’s references/notes as a way to highlight the importance of paying attention to what was published before and how it gets interpreted/used when it’s cited in later research or writings.) The database, PubMed, also lists if any comments have been published by the journal addressing an article and where this article was cited in PubMed Central. A Google “cited by” search can also be run if students are curious to find more. Usually the PMC links are enough to show how research begets more research.

    Another way i would love to showcase the importance of citations but haven’t had the chance is by presenting an article/opinion piece that I know they’d like to rebut. One way of critiquing a piece is double checking to make sure they’ve accurately represented the research they’re citing. I’d divvy up the class to find the original source material for some of the article’s claims. Except, I’ve noticed when I’ve tried to track down primary sources, poorly done or incomplete citations often make finding that original research very difficult. They might find it as frustrating as I do. They should not be like those authors.


  2. University of Cincinnati Libraries has a brief video that explains Scholarship as a Conversation—Research 101: Scholarship is a Conversation by Kali Stoehr and Anna Eisen, with voice by Kimberley Tate:

    It uses as its example the conversations a person overhears while at a party and how the listener may either join a conversation or take pieces of different conversations and make connections between them to expand the topic. The multiple conversations going on at a party represent the multiple academic conversations; one conversation or article does not represent coverage of the whole topic.

    Similar to Carroll and Dasler’s article using Twitter as an example, Stoehr and Eisen use another scenario with which students are familiar to present the idea of how students can enter the ongoing scholarly conversation.


  3. I enjoyed the reading for this one, but I wish they included a class outline or something.

    I have often touched on Scholarship as Conversation by talking about seeing who cited a specific article using Google Scholar. I usually bring it up in more upper level classes in demo form in sessions that are more workshop-y than what I would do for lower level courses.

    I like both of the activities posted above too! I think these could be good for lower level courses and Heather’s specifically would be good as a more structured session in an upper level course.


  4. This exercise in the Sandbox – Citation: A (very) Brief Introduction, contributed by Jesse Lopez from North Carolina State University, succinctly explains the need to cite sources:

    After watching this video, I would have students view these two videos:

    Scholarship as Conversation by WVU Libraries


    Scholarship is a Conversation by Daniel Chesney

    and discuss what they mean to them – did they realize that their research could contribute to the scholarly conversation?

    Regarding the reading – Since most of our students have used Twitter, or have knowledge about the tweets being generated in the last few months, they should be made aware of what is actually happening when something is retweeted. By making the comparison of retweeting with citing sources, I think this exercise would be an eye-opener for many of our students. The example from Borrowing Sam would help them to understand the need for referencing the source of any information generated.



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