I second that emotion

Over the summer, I was reminded of Carol Kulthau‘s work on the information search process, which focuses on the stages of information-seeking behaviour.

While there is much in this to be explored, my current area of interest is the emotion inherent in the search process. Using Kulthau’s work as a guide (but greatly simplifying it for my purposes), I identified 7 emotions which may be experienced by researchers:

  • Uncertainty
  • Optimism
  • Clarity
  • Sense of direction
  • Satisfaction
  • Sense of accomplishment

Having the opportunity to work with our AP Capstone Research students this year, I enlisted them as volunteers in an experiment. We posted these emotions on a continuum in their classroom, and they put their names on post-it notes, placing them on the spot which reflected their emotion/attitude that particular day.

They adjust the placement accordingly every class, and one of the students volunteered to take regular photos: at the end of year, we’ll stream them together into a video to see their progress in live action. The hope is that they become aware of the range of emotion created by their work, most importantly, the importance of reflection, revision and perseverance. “So if you got the notion, I second that emotion”!




8 thoughts on “I second that emotion

  1. I am currently working on the same issue of helping kids identify their emotions in the research process, also looking at Kulthau and adding Striplings model of inquiry too. I’m also pulling in ideas from the Emotionsl Intelligence world. We should compare notes. I have only explored stage one with the kids so far. I’m excited that you are working on it too!

    • So wonderful to hear that others are looking at this as well – yes, I’d love to connect. In this afternoon’s class, kids are negotiating to add new markers on the continuum…so far they’ve got ‘apprehension’ and ‘minor irritation’ 🙂

  2. I think it’s great that you’re teaching students to recognize the emotional/affective side of the research process! We also share the chart of Kulthau’s Model of the Stages of the Information Process with our AP Lang students. Many say that it’s the first time an adult has recognized all of the uncertain and unpleasant emotions that can accompany their work. They always get a laugh over the search closure feelings box indicating the end of the process. “sometimes satisfaction sometimes disappointment.” It shows that they know well beyond a grade whether they’ve put in their best efforts. I’m looking forward to you sharing that video at the end of the year!

  3. Shelagh – As usual, you are inspiring us with amazing and original ways to interact with and learn from your students. I just don’t know how many ideas I will be ‘borrowing’ from you this year! PS The US Reading Project – where kids picked a book picked by a teacher to create book clubs over the summer – great success – we are doing a holiday version too! Thanks for the idea!

    • Awesome to hear the the summer reading project went well – I keep thinking of how you took it to the next level by having teachers promote their books. What a great idea to have a holiday version – hmm……

  4. Hi! As co-author of the Guided inquiry Dedign with Kuhlthau, I’m excited to see how your end result comes out! I leading a Pro-D on Guided Inquiry and a participant asked me if the process has changed due to the Information Age… I think not. I think it’s what we have to go through to create something really wonderful. So it will be so interesting to see how your students notice their emotions along the way. Have you seen our books on Guided Inquiry? 🙂 thanks for your post! I’ll share with Kuhlthau. She’ll be delighted.

    • Very kind of you to reach out – I agree that your work is not only ‘still relevant’ but even more so! I’m excited about how students’ awareness of their emotions may impact their research process.

  5. Hi Shelagh,
    Sorry that I didn’t comment earlier, but thank you so much for sharing this amazing lesson! I’ve already stolen it and used it with my students working on IB Extended Essays. I don’t have time to meet with all of the, but by self-assessing, I got a much better idea of which students I needed to chat with right away. Painless, yet SO useful! https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2RbAE4e-LaxUWtfVVliYm8wUWs/view?usp=sharing
    Thank You!!!

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