Assignments: Question Formation

Due Dates

As scheduled on the course calendar.

Preface

A goal of this course is to examine how we pose questions and form problems, generally, and how the nature of these questions and problems affects academic and intellectual inquiry, specifically.

We rarely consider how the origin and structure of questions determine how we form problems. Numerous factors — our knowledge and reflective abilities, social relationships, previous research and texts, resources, technology, institutions, field of study — constrain how we pose questions and provide possible answers. In this instance, I want us to develop our intuitions regarding the relationship between posing questions and configuring problems and our critical approach to inquiry.

In this assignment, you will form and present questions based on the course readings or on issues and topics related to the readings. Your questions will lend the basis for class discussion. Class discussion will involve not only the issues raised in, and related to, the readings, but also analyses of the questions themselves and the answers they prompt.

Practice

Ten times during the semester, on selected Mondays (please refer to the course calendar), I will ask you to bring three to five questions to class. The questions will be based on the assigned reading and/or on issues and topics related to the readings. For each question that you develop, I ask that you provide three references to the assigned text — or to outside texts — that lend a basis for how you formed the question and for how the question might be answered. For passages in assigned readings, you need only provide a page number. For passages in outside sources please provide a full citation. Please bring your questions and citations to class on the appropriate day. (I would print and save the questions and citations as a Word file.)

I will randomly select students to present their questions (making sure all get turns during the semester!) and, accordingly, prompt class discussion.

After the designated Monday class, and before Wednesday's class, I ask that you post your questions (you may revise them in the meantime) to the Discussion Board on Blackboard. The posted questions will serve as a guide and archive to our discussion, as a possible basis for Wednesday's discussion, and as examples for refining our ideas on posing questions and forming problems.

Summary

• For each designated Monday on the course calendar I would like you to form three to five questions on the reading itself and/or on issues related to the reading;
• For each question, I would like you to provide three references to the text or three full citations to related outside sources. Please bring the questions and citations to class on the appropriate day. Please save the questions and citations as a Word file;
• For each class discussion I will randomly select students to present their questions and citations as the basis for class discussion;
• After Monday's class, and before Wednesday's class, I would like you to post your questions and citations to the Discussion Board on Blackboard. In so doing we will have an archive of the questions and a way to trace our evolving sensibilities and standards during the semester.


Inquiry