New Instructional Design Video Series on the Research Process


Instructors might take it for granted that their students are familiar with central conceptual and critical thinking elements of the research process. A new video series from Kevin Klipfel, instructional design and assessment librarian for the USC Libraries, and Cory Nelson, associate professor of writing at the USC Writing Center, introduces students to those skills. Taking what their creators call a "learner-centered approach," the videos are designed to be used either directly by students or by classroom instructors.

Here's a synopsis by Klipfel and Nelson:

The Research Process: Instructional Design Video Series

The purpose of this video suite is to introduce learners to central conceptual and critical thinking elements of the research process that are often tacitly assumed to be part of students’ background knowledge but not always explicitly taught. The series attempts to take a learner-centered approach, by addressing live questions students face during the research process, and aims to provide direct interventions on these skills. The videos, wherever possible, are informed by research on the writing process, evidence-based learning theory, and instructional design practices in order to make this tacit knowledge explicit for learners and instructors. The videos are designed to be used either directly by students or by classroom instructors.


Getting Started on a Research Paper (Using Divergent Thinking)

Students often say that getting started is the hardest part of the research process. This may be, in part, because whereas most of our education teaches convergent thinking strategies (developing answers to linear questions with fixed answers and solutions), the research process requires a kind of creative, or “divergent” kind of thinking, where we consider multiple potential solutions for an open-ended problem. This video explains how students can use divergent thinking to interpret an assignment creatively and select a meaningful, authentic topic of interest.


Building Stronger Arguments

Students are often expected to build strong arguments in their research. But what does an instructor mean when they ask that of their students? What does a strong argument actually look like? This video draws on strategies from philosophy, critical thinking, and learning theory to help students use research to build stronger arguments in their writing.


Critical Reading Strategies for Research

Instructors often ask students to engage more deeply with sources when doing research and writing. But what does that mean, exactly? This video draws on educational psychology and instructional design theory to give students concrete strategies for engaging deeply and meaningfully with sources by asking “Essential questions” about the readings.


Time Management and the Writing Process

In order to do quality research, one must have a good grasp of time management. Research presents unique time management challenges, since it is a recursive process that often requires one to go back to earlier steps in the process even after that part of the research process seems “done.” This video outlines linear vs. recursive processes, how the research process falls under the latter heading, and maps research as a linear process so students have a better grasp of what to expect when engaging in research and planning their time.