Wednesday, June 9, 2010

empire state legal writing conference, post 2

For the second session, I chose to attend two sessions on research:  David Epstein (NY Law School), "Guiding Research in Progress," and Nicole Raymond Chong (Penn State Dickinson), "Wrapping Up Fall Semester."

Professor Epstein discussed using structured feedback systems, including wikis and discussion boards, to monitor students' research progress.  Instead of waiting until the students are "done," only to tell them that they didn't find the right information or used an inefficient process, he has students submit interim reports so that he can offer tips along the way--that a search term might be changed, that there is indeed a case out there, that a rejected case should be reconsidered, etc.

P1040902 Professor Chong discussed an end-of-semester research exercise that can be completed in one class period.  She divides students into groups and has one group do a research project using provided books, another using Westlaw, another using LEXIS, and possibly next time 'round, another using free online sources.  The groups then report on their success, including what worked and what didn't, and she found that the students are often amazed that in some circumstances, the books work best! 


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