Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Development of Research Skills in UIUC History Students
Author(s):Iden, Hilary
Abstract:As a research institution, one of the goals of the University of Illinois is to teach its undergraduates the skills needed to succeed in their own research both in and beyond. Through the pilot research I conducted, I’ve found that this goal is not being fully met for students in the history department. I hypothesize that uneven teaching of research skills, such as library and library catalog introductions and campus and online resource awareness programs, by professors as well as fewer and more distant interactions between students, librarians, and professors have not prepared students for their upper level courses. Building on preliminary research through student interviews, I propose additional research through interviews with history professors and librarians and a semester-long ethnography of a History 498 writing course. These research methods will help to unearth ways of helping students succeed in their classes and any further research they do.
Issue Date:2008-02-13
Course / Semester:ANTH 411: Methods for Sociocultural Anthropology, Prof. Nancy Abelmann. This course introduced students to a variety of ethnographic methods. Students tried their hand at some of these methods through a focused project. I had students think about their semester-long work as "pilot research"; although they did write up a short paper on their findings (their "discuss" section of the database), the culminating assignment was a research proposal in which they envision building on their preliminary findings in a longer/larger project. In the beginning of the semester, students did some warm-up exercises not directly related to their projects (an observation, an analysis of a university document, and an interview) -- some students elected to remove these from their databases while others left them in because of their connection to the final project. Students' "question" and "plan" sections of the database include multiple entries as I encouraged them to continue to refine these over the course of the semester in dialogue with their own emerging findings. I also asked students to search both the U of I Student Life and Cultures Archives and well as this EUI IDEALS collection to find archives relevant to their pilot/proposed research. All students were asked to "reflect" on the research experience and to make "recommendations" to the University on the basis of their research findings. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-02-13

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    This collection examines student learning both in and beyond the classroom.

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