Research Nuggets Assignment

Read this whole assignment carefully before beginning.

You will use this assignment for all research nuggets (unless otherwise noted). 

This assignment has four goals that you need to understand in order to be successful:

    1.  It is intended to help you focus the reading of your sources on content that will be useful for your inquiry project.
    2. It will facilitate collaboration by allowing you a glimpse into what your peers are reading so that you might share sources. Sharing sources through Diigo is encouraged!
    3. It will give you an opportunity to practice synthesis, which is a vital but challenging part of any inquiry project.
    4. It will provide evidence of your research process to the world and give me,  your instructor, a way to offer guidance and assistance–and credit.

Don't try this at home, unless of course you live in a nuggety river.

I am suggesting that reading a new source is like panning a river. You suspect the river may have gold nuggets in it, and so you shake and sift stuff that you pull from it until you are satisfied you got all the gold in the river and didn’t miss anything valuable.  But what you do when you pan for gold is to look at all the particles in your colander and pick out the ones that look yellower than others. The same is true with research. You have to sift through a lot of material and extract what is most meaningful.

Select three quality sources. At least one must be peer-reviewed. In Diigo, bookmark them using tags, and then read and annotate each. (Don’t forget to save the sources to your group: Thoughtvectors2014. That’s very important!) Then, write about each source in your blog according to the guidelines below.

For each source, complete the following three steps. Then do the synthesis. 

Step 1: Write a MLA or APA citation (Please also include a link to the source. Do not copy and paste the long link into your blog. Rather, write the word “link” and embed the link.) Do this correctly now and you can copy and paste them into your inquiry project later.

Step 2: In your own words, explain the writer’s main claim. What is the main point of this argument?

Step 3: Choose 2-3 nuggets and unpack them. Do not say what the nugget reminds you of or how it makes you feel. Personal anecdotes are irrelevant here. The idea is to explain how the nugget illuminates the larger issues that are important in that source. Thus, you will need to do some summary and provide context for each nugget.

Synthesis:  You must complete steps 1-3 for each of the three sources before you can begin to synthesize. This is the MOST IMPORTANT and most challenging step. SYNTHESIZE the three sources (and others you have read). You are looking for ways, perhaps unexpected ways, that the sources overlap and are similar. If the authors dramatically disagree on something, you should also explain this.  (However, don’t focus on how the sources are different in minute and unimportant ways, as of course all sources have differences and this doesn’t need pointing out).

The synthesis should include the three new articles. However, you should also LINK to sources (or your posts about sources) that you have already read–perhaps for concept experience 3  or another research nugget assignment or what you have read on your own. Put as many sources in conversation as you can.


For RESEARCH NUGGETS 1, you must use at least 3 new sources, and for RESEARCH NUGGETS 2, you must also use at least 3 new sources. Thus, you will read at least 6 sources for these two assignments. 

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UNIV 200: Inquiry and the Craft of Argument, 006

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