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BIOL 303

The Parlor

Read the following paragraph.  Then answer the questions below it. [1]

“Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer [her]; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.” [2]

Questions (click on question for answer):

1. What would happen if you walked into this parlor, marched right into the center of the room and started spouting your ideas?

2. What if you wandered in, heard one person speak, and then left? What would you be able to say about the discussion?

3. How does the Burkean Parlor relate to writing a literature review?

REFERENCES

[1] Use of the Burkean Parlor and questions was suggested by Erika Bennett (Reference Librarian, Capella University) on the Information Literacy discussion list of the American Library Association, ILI-L, on 13 February 2009.

 [2]  K. Burke, The philosophy of literary form; studies in symbolic action. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1941, pp. 110-111.

 

 

Citation Pearl Searching

Pearl growing is a research technique that uses one relevant article as the basis for finding other relevant articles.

If you found only a few good articles on your topic, take a close  look at their references (citations). A single good article is much like a precious pearl. Its subject headings and sometimes the words in its title or abstract may give you ideas for making more and better searches.

Step One

The first thing you do is find one relevant article, using either a keyword search or a subject search in the database of your field.

Step Two

As you read the article you chose, highlight  new keywords, the names of frequently cited researchers, book titles, related theories, unique phrases, associations, assessments, and websites.

Use new keywords, unique phrases, assessments, and related theories as keyword searches in your database of choice. They may lead you to other articles of interest.

To find other articles written by frequently cited researchers, open the database of your field, go to the advanced search page, and type in the researcher's last name and first initial. Change the drop-down menu to "Author" and search. Your results will include articles written by that researcher.

To find books whose titles appear in your article, open the library catalog, type in the title of the book, change the drop-down menu to "Title" and search. If we have the book, write down the call number and check the book out. If we don't have the book, use ILL to borrow the book from another library.

Step Three

Return to your original article. Read the article again, highlighting pertinent passages that include in-text citations. Follow each highlighted citation to its partner in the reference list.

Use Journal Finder to find out if the library has a referenced article. You will need the title of the journal and the year the article was published in it. If we have the journal, there will be a link to the journal and you can search it for the article you need. If we don't have the journal, you can request an interlibrary loan.

To find books whose titles appeared in the reference list, open the library catalog, type in the title of the book, change the drop-down menu to "Title" and search. If we have the book, write down the call number and check the book out. If we don't have the book, use ILL to borrow the book from another library.

Your next step is to pearl grow another relevant article, and then another.... By the time you're done, you'll have a clear understanding of the literature surrounding your research problem.

Karl E. Mundt Library, Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota 57042
605-256-5203