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News from the Libraries – Research & Writing Workshop for Task Force Students

February 28, 2013

lib staff 2013

Siôn Romaine, Canadian Studies librarian (front), with Louise Richards, Fisheries & Oceanography librarian, Dan Mandeville, Nordic Studies librarian, and Jenny Halpin and Cammie Dodson of the Odegaard Writing & Research Center.

In early January, librarians Dan Mandeville (Nordic Studies), Louise Richards (Fisheries/Oceanography) and Siôn Romaine (Canadian Studies) collaborated with Jenny Halpin and Cammie Dodson of the Odegaard Writing & Research Center to lead a Research & Writing Workshop for members of the SIS495 Arctic Security in the 21st Century Task Force.

Overall goals of the workshop were to have Task Force members collaboratively construct a topic concept map, articulate possible research questions, identify their audience, so as to make appropriate stylistic writing choices, and identify appropriate resources for their topics.

Topic concept mapping was a key component of the workshop. Students used whiteboards to cluster and relate key words, concepts and research questions related to their topic. Empty whiteboards were quickly filled with terms covering all aspects of Arctic security, from food security, sovereignty and environment, to oil, China and climate change. Writing Center staff then helped Task Force members identify a writing style that would be most appropriate for their audience of policy makers and government officials in Québec City and Ottawa, while librarians discussed resource types and which ones might be most suitable.

The three librarians then covered some of the key resources that Task Force members could use in their research. One key resource demonstrated was EBSCO’s Arctic and Antarctic Regions, the world’s largest collection of international and interdisciplinary polar databases. Other key resources demonstrated included web sites of the Government of Canada (which indexes documents and policy papers from government departments as well as news items from the CBC/SRC), the Arctic Institute/Center for Circumpolar Security Studies (papers on Arctic policy issues), and the Congressional Research Service (papers from the public policy arm of the U.S. Congress).

Student then had a few minutes to work on matching their initial research questions and concept maps to sources suggested on the Task Force research guide. The librarians and Writing Center staff were on hand to answer questions and suggest other resources.

Resources discussed in the workshops, as well as tips on writing, editing, and evaluating resources can be found on the SIS495 Task Force Class Guide at: Link no longer available.