Truth in Society

February 2, 1995

Prompt #50


Logging strategies

You may have felt some relief, thinking you'd finally seen the backside of the readlogs truck. Look out, it's coming around again. We figure the best way to find appropriate focuses for this term's inquiries will be to make use of the readlogs. We're hoping we're going to be able to do some lumber manufacturing and pulp production with them.

Taking a skidder to your readlogs

The first step is to prepare your own readlogs to be read by your colleagues. To begin with, we will be sending you, by email, a file consisting of your compiled readlogs. You'll need to eXtract the file to your H: drive and then do some preparation of it for reading.

We see this preparation consisting of three discrete phases:

  1. removing extraneous or distracting material -- such as the list of things you glanced at but then passed over. Junk everything except the reflections you actually wrote, and the bibliographic information concerning the associated articles; (Instructions for doing this phase using WordPerfect are on the last page).
  2. editing -- when and where necessary -- the language of your readlogs for your Truth in Society colleagues. Do any rephrasing, organizing and cleaning up that you see as useful for the people who'll be reading it; (This is similar, in some ways, to what we asked you to do with the Christmas colleague acknowledgments, where the point was to change them from documents meant to be read by one audience into ones meant to be read by another.)
  3. writing a reflection on your readlogs, informed by the reading of the whole of them you've done as you edited. This reflection should be placed at the end of your prepared readlogs, and should be substantial -- by that we mean at least a page or two long. Your reflection might be informed by questions like these:
In other words, help your reader to see what you see when you read your readlogs.

When you've finished preparing your readlog file (removing, editing, reflecting), print out a copy. Bring the printed copy to class on Tuesday (February 7).

Sorting and stacking the readlogs

Beginning next Tuesday you will have a chance to read the prepared readlogs of some of your Truth in Society colleagues. We will be asking you to write, between then and Thursday, a report of your findings. The next prompt -- which we'll give out on Tuesday -- will be more specific about how you might do this. Essentially we'll be looking for ways to move toward subjects, issues, episodes or questions which might bear investigation, and which, if we investigated them, might help us come closer to an understanding of the ways in which people come to believe things.

Where there's smoke . . . ; feasibility studies

A week from today, February 9, we will be meeting in various groupings to begin the process of deciding on some potential topics. Once we're settled on an array of possibilities, it will be a matter of organizing and carrying out "feasibility studies". We want to make sure that the final selections have potential for supporting our investigations during February and March. A feasibility study will establish whether or not a particular potential "episode of believing" is both "do-able" and worth doing -- whether the question(s) would sustain an inquiry, whether the library has the resources we need, whether the episode is likely to provide an occasion for learning about how people come to believe what they believe, and so forth.

By the end of the day next Thursday we hope that it will be clear what feasibility studies need to be done, and who's doing them. (Again, there will be more on this step in future prompts.)

Firing up the inquiries: coming to decisions about focuses

By the 21st of February, we figure, you will be ready to make an informed decision about which focuses will drive this term's deepening inquiries. This deadline will allow for the work necessary for a successful Chautauqua and edited final reports by the April 11 date set out in the schedule outlined in prompt 46.

If you feel a bit woozy from breathing the fumes of this run-away pulp truck, we sympathize. We would point out that at least we managed to keep all mention of budworms out of the prompt. (Until now.)

Overview of schedule

Here is an overview of what you can expect to be doing for the next couple of weeks:

For Tuesday, February 7: bring to the Truth in Society 8:30 a.m. meeting a print-out of your new-and-improved readlog file, complete with reflection.

For the next while, plan on attending 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. bookend meetings of the Truth in Society section.

For Thursday, February 9, you will have read a whack of your colleagues' readlogs as well as your own, and will bring three copies of your report of your findings to the 8:30 meeting. The next prompt will give details of whose readlogs you will read and the kinds of things you might write about.

For Tuesday, February 14, your feasibility study group (more on this in future prompts) will have its feasibility study done sometime before the 4:00 p.m. meeting of Truth in Society.

You'll also be attending "Occasions" and writing about them, and probably participating in a "task force."

All clear? Of course not; let's talk about it a bit.


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