A pleasant surprise from the blogsphere today: yesterday’s post was selected as one of the Ringmaster’s Choices for the Carnival of the Infosciences #9. See the comments for that post.

That’s cool, but what the heck does it mean? From my brief investigations, the Carnivals of the Infosciences seem to be a floating, more or less weekly compilation of interesting things in the library blogsphere. Floating in the sense that it’s been on 7 different blogs so far. An interesting idea. Not exactly the Pulitzer Prize, but I’ll take it.

But will this achieve my goal of actually having someone conduct the study that I proposed in that post, & that was excerpted in the Carnival post? One can only hope. I post research ideas here from time to time; I come up with far more that I never bother to post. I don’t have the time or the skills or the interest or the whatever to do most (any) of these studies; I post them in the hope that someone else will take an idea & run with it. If this is you, all I ask is that you let me know when you have some results to share; the reason I post these ideas & don’t do the studies myself is that all I’m interested in is the findings.

I’ve thought that maybe there should be a more centralized repository of research ideas than just my & presumably other people’s blogs, & scouring journal literature. Masters students are always looking for Masters paper ideas, doctoral students are always looking for dissertation ideas. Should we, as faculty, provide our cast-off ideas for our students to pick up? Sure, part of being a student is learning to come up win interesting research questions of your own. But I don’t know a research project yet that ended where the researcher thought it would end when it began. Plus, how many Masters papers and dissertations started because someone read in a journal article a sentence like this: “future research will be necessary to…” Also, don’t we do this already, just not in so obvious a way? We present ideas & questions in class, in our writing, in conversations with our students working with us on research projects or doing independent studies or over coffee. Is there something pedagogically to be gained by letting students pick through our speech acts to isolate the ideas that really interest them? Would there be something pedagogically to be gained by letting students select more or less pre-formed ideas for research projects?

I honestly don’t know. Students, any thoughts on this?