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3.2.1: Introduction

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    We live in an age of immediate answers. Although we have not achieved parity in access to technology worldwide, information has never been easier to uncover. This is, of course, a double-edged sword: the proliferation of ideas due to the technological revolution enables new kinds of learning, but also has fundamentally changed the way we think and interact.

    One of my friends refers to his iPhone as "The Wonder Killer": because he has such quick access to answers through the miniature computer he carries everywhere, the experience of sustained curiosity is now very rare in his life. All kinds of questions are easily answered by googling- "Who was that guy in Back to the Future Part II?" "Do spiders hibernate?"- or a brief crawl through Wikipedia- "How has globalization impacted Bhutan's economy?" "What life experiences influenced Frida Kahlo's painting?" But the answers to these questions, though easily discovered, paint a very one-dimensional portrait of human knowledge.


    TED-ed Video: How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries by Adam Savage

    Take a look at this brief TED video from Adam Savage of Mythbusters. For scientists and writers alike, the spirit of curiosity at once motivates individual learning and also the growth and progress of our collective knowledge. Your innate ability to be curious puts you in the league of the most brilliant and prolific scholars- people who were driven by questions, seeking to interrogate the world around them.

    In this section, I add my voice to the chorus of writing teachers whose rallying cry is a renewed investment in curiosity98. Hopefully, you too will embrace inquisitive fascination by rejecting easy answers and using writing as a means of discovery.

    Chapter Vocabulary

    Vocabulary Definition
    confirmation bias

    a cognitive bias by which a person seeks only ideas which confirm their existing worldview, thus convincing themselves that that worldview is universal and/or truthful.

    inquiry-based research research and research writing that is motivated by questions, not by answers.
    ongoing conversation an analogy for the network of discourse surrounding a topic, issue, or idea. Adopted from Kenneth Burke.
    research question/ path of inquiry a question, series of questions, or inquisitive topic that guides an inquiry-based research project.
    stakes the potential value of consequence of an exploration or argument; what stands to be gained from investigation of a subject or advocacy for a position. Consider also "stakeholders," the people or institutions that stand to gain from the outcome of an investigation or argument.

    This page titled 3.2.1: Introduction is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Shane Abrams (PDXOpen publishing initiative) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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