Folks, I am sorry I have been out of the loop for so long! It is good to see you are moving on…

I have begun to use the IF process in an upper-level class this term. The group is small (9) and pretty homogeneous:  all are anthropology majors. This is an applied (hands-on) research class and students will be using IF to discuss/decide how to approach specific research issues/questions.

I modeled the process last week when we tried to identify the general research problem/question. The approach proved very helpful. We started with (a) what are our main concerns? Moved to (b) what approaches can we use to explore them? And finally (c) what might be the implications of these choices?

Real-life constraints facilitated narrowing down the options. Most students work and commute, so we must focus on college/academic-life issues. Students don’t have too much time to conduct the research project. (We have lost 3 classes due to snow days!) Students seek to “make a difference” given the applied dimension. The discussion of approaches and implications helped us distinguish feasible/non-feasible projects.

From now on, student pairs will lead & coordinate weekly research activities exploring particular aspects. Students will be expected to use the IF approach to brainstorm/identify research strategies, perceived consequences and implications.  After the group examines possibilities & decides which route to follow, the leaders will design data collection forms and coordinate the group effort. These are my plans, of course. We will find out how it goes!