Responds to Bleck
I appreciate Bradley Bleck's
kind review of my book: he has understood my purpose extraordinarily
well and has even suggested a rationale for the order of the chapters that
I hadn't recognized myself. In addition, he has aptly pointed out some
problems that plague books like this; in particular, the daunting task
of keeping links on the related Web site up-to-date.
I'd like to respond to just a few of the points he makes, for having
someone look critically at the book makes me want to be somewhat critical
of my own work:
What is the next step for books that foreground research on the Web? Is
the profession ready for full-blown research guides that integrate the
Web and Web search strategies? As I think about a possible next step, I
am considering writing a guide to research writing that presents a more
balanced perspective on the entire research process, one that integrates
library searching, searching online databases, and Web searching more fully
than I have been able to do in this book. I would be interested in hearing
from anyone who is interested in discussing this with me.
As Bleck has noted, my book foregrounds Web research, but is not limited
to Internet searching. It seems to me essential that Web searching be viewed
as one part of the research process, not as an isolated exercise. I am
glad that I was able to include documentation for standard sources along
with suggestions for Web citation format. I regret that I didn't include
them in the same section of the chapter. My key point is that Web sources
should be integrated with library and other sources, yet I have made the
mistake of placing them in a separate part of the chapter.
Bleck likes "the depth of the online support." I enjoyed creating the web
study guide, but am unsure of how students and teachers will use these
guides and how they should be developed in the future. At this point, the
guide is not password-protected. Thus, I had the task of trying to create
exercises that would support the book, yet not replace the book. I'm not
sure that I've succeeded. I've had many e-mail messages from folks around
the country who ask for permission (even though they don't have to) to
use the online guide in their courses. I'm curious about what readers of
Kairos think about online guides such as mine. Should they be password-protected?
Should they have different elements than the features I've included?
I am pleased that Bleck understood my intent: I've tried to write something
other than a "Guide to the Internet." I'm surprised, in a way, that he
doesn't have a problem with my calling the book a "Guide to the Research
Paper." In a revision of the book, I'd like to use the term "research project"
so that hypermedia research projects fit, too.
Senior Lecturer, English and Speech
University of Texas at Brownsville
Brownsville, Texas 78520