Competency L - Statement and Evidence
Portfolio of Cathleen Elizabeth Ash
understand the nature of research, research methods and research findings; retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups;
Whether you believe researchers have a "gap of knowledge" or a need-to-know or simply a desire (want) for information, their methods tend to be similar. They start with some level of knowledge about the topic at hand (none, a little, a lot, etc.) and a desire or need to enhance or increase that knowledge. It all begins with finding the right to place to look.
Finding and retrieving information can sometimes be difficult, and having a myriad of tools at hand to do so is the best way to help ensure success. If the tools you have at hand are already well-reviewed or peer-reviewed, even better. Among the many tools available, it is clear that in high schools, the Internet and popular search engines are used the most. Evaluation is not only necessary when using these sources, but critical. Currently, ALA's campaign (RADCAB) assists in understanding the different approaches and steps to evaluation: relevancy, appropriateness, detail, currency, authority, and bias. Whether this group of evaluation tools or some other tool is chosen, any source (print, visual, human, audio, Internet) needs evaluation. With sources such as EBSCO, Wilson Web, and other databases offered by both public and school libraries, and even Google Scholar, the need for evaluation becomes less necessary (although bias and appropriateness still play a critical part in interpreting the information). The most difficult part (for me) is synthesis. It becomes easier when there is a purpose, an audience, a goal for which you have gathered the information.
I have prepared research and statistics for a number of purposes, and often, the audience determines the presentation style. Is it formal or informal? Visual or Audio? Written? I tend to utilize all presentation styles to reach the varied learning styles in the audiences to which I'm presenting. Examples of two of my presentations (one to an Assemblymember and another to my school's Site Council) detail statistics and research pulled from a variety of resources and combined to produce a compelling argument for more funding. These examples can be found as Evidence for Competency D. They clearly indicate my ability to synthesize scholarly information and articles and present them to groups for informed decision-making.
In addition, I have completed a number of scholarly projects regarding research, including reference tasks to learn about the many types of information accessible through libraries, utilizing the King Library's online databases extensively for assigned and additional readings (creating a database of over 3,000 quotes from these readings and their sources to utilize in the future), and even creating pathfinders for fellow students and Clubs on my school's campus.
Pathfinder - Shade Gardens An online resource completed for a fellow student interested in planting a shady area. GSA - supporting site for school club An online resource site for the school's GSA Club Vikings - Benchmarks The top left three links are for the three benchmarks required at the school. Each link outlines research strategies, resources, FAQs about the research process (and some answers!) for the specific benchmark. Quotes - All Classes An Excel spreadsheet of points of interest while reading. This was used and updated throughout my student career at SJSU. It allows for quickly-found items of interest or back-up citations to an argument. Reference Librarianship Examples of searching various reference questions for patrons.