East Asian Language and Literature Chinese Majors Research Skills

What Should EALL Chinese Majors Know?

By the time of their graduation all EAL Chinese majors should understand how to use Chinese language tools to read and express themselves in Chinese and how literary scholars conduct research in English and how they then communicate the results of their work to colleagues. One way of describing this process is “information literacy” – i.e. the ability to conceptualize what literary information is needed combined with the skills necessary to locate, evaluate, and effectively and ethically use this information.

Students who have taken writing intensive classes should already have learned the following:

  • Define and articulate the need for information and identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information beyond the web search engine. [AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to identify and locate the two most appropriate types of information needed to complete their assignment.]
  • Articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources. (AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to distinguish between popular and scholarly materials in a variety of formats such as books, periodical literature, and web sites.)
  • Acknowledge and cite the sources used in conducting research for an assignment using an acceptable style guide. (AT THE VERY LEAST – students will be able to locate the appropriate style guide & emergency online help).

Chinese Language

100 Level Courses

Students enrolled in 100-level Chinese language courses should be able to:

  • Use a Chinese language word processor
  • Look up Chinese characters using radicals, pronunciation, or total stroke counts using print or online dictionaries
  • Understand the differences between Chinese-English dictionaries created for Chinese native speakers and Chinese language learners

200 Level Courses

Students enrolled in 200-level Chinese language courses should be able to:

  • Check that they are using Chinese terms and phrases appropriately by consulting dictionaries and grammar books
  • Locate more information about topics that interest them in their textbook by using Chinese and English language search engines
  • Write short texts in their own words by incorporating information that they have researched in Chinese.

300 Level Courses

Students enrolled in 300-level Chinese language courses should be able to:

  • Use appropriate dictionaries with ease to build vocabulary and look up words they don’t understand
  • Understand that there are different writing styles for different purposes
  • Locate Chinese language materials in the library catalog
  • Have the ability to locate Chinese language texts such as short stories or newspaper articles using online search engines and databases
  • Analyze and integrate various Chinese resources for oral and written presentations
  • Demonstrate ethical and appropriate use of Chinese language sources used in written assignments.

Junior Year Abroad

Prior to their departure for Junior Year Abroad students should attend a workshop in which they will learn about conducting research in Chinese libraries. Students who have completed the workshop should be able to:

  • Use online bookstores to locate needed materials and to understand how materials are shelved in the store.
  • Locate research materials in Chinese libraries through union catalogs.
  • Navigate the library’s website to verify hours, the availability of the item, and rules about use by visitors.
  • Read a street address and locate the place on a map.
  • Construct a detailed travel plan using public transportation and locate inexpensive accommodation.
  • Understand that copyright rules differ in the target country and that it may affect the student’s access to and use of information and resources.

Chinese Literature and Culture

200 Level Courses

Chinese majors and other students enrolled in EAL 231, 232, 237, 260 or 261 should be able to:

  • understand that they cannot rely solely upon their own knowledge; they must back up what they say by citing both primary text and reliable secondary sources
  • have the ability to locate books in the Five College Catalog on specific periods of Chinese history
  • contextualize a topic by using basic scholarly reference sources such as:
    Reference Sources Neilson Call Number
    Cambridge Encyclopedia of China ref DS 705 .C35 1991
    Cambridge History of China DS 735 .C3145
    China Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the People’s Republic ref DS 777.6 .C49 2005
    Cultural Atlas of China ref DS 721 .B56 1998
    Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture ref DS 779.23 .E5 2005
    Encyclopedia of Modern Asia ref DS4 .L48 2002

Students taking EAL 237 should be able to locate translations of Chinese poetry through the use of anthologies, appropriate web sites, and Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry.  They should also be able to locate biographical information on Chinese poets & artists using a variety of reference tools such as Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature (ref PL 2264 .I53 1986), Historical Dictionary of Modern Chinese Literature (ref PL 2303 .Y59 2010), and Oxford Art Online.

300 Level Courses

Chinese majors and other students enrolled in EAL 360 should be able to:

  • Maintain a flexible vocabulary which will allow for altering initial search strategies which prove unsuccessful
  • Demonstrate ethical and appropriate use of secondary sources in the support of arguments based on readings of literary texts
  • Find biographical, historical, and translation information on Chinese literature by using sources such as:
    Reference Sources Call Number/Access
    Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature ref PL 493 .C55 2003 or
    online access
    Dictionary of Literary Biography online access
    Literature of China in the Twentieth Century ref PL 2303 .M43 1997
    MCLC Resource Center (Ohio State University) online access
  • Locate scholarly studies through the skilled use of databases such as
    Database Access
    Bibliography of Asian Studies (1971+) online access
    JSTOR (back issues excluding most recent 2-5 years) online access
    MLA International Bibliography (1926+) online access
    Project Muse (current issues) online access
    WorldCat (all dates) online access

In What Ways Will Student Skills be Assessed?

Chinese language students at the 100 level should be able to look up hanzi in dictionaries by radicals and stroke count, and deconstruct a sentence so that they can look up the terms in a Chinese-English dictionary.

Students completing work on a literature paper at the 200 level should demonstrate knowledge and use of some resources listed above, especially the ability to locate books in the Five College Catalog.  Students should be able to cite materials using correct bibliographic format as specified in class. 

At the 300 level students should routinely cite both primary and secondary sources demonstrating their ability to use the resources listed above.   Chinese language students at the 300 level should be able to locate Chinese texts to use for assignments, accurately cite the source of the information, and use dictionaries easily to help them understand the purpose and content of the texts.

Ethical Use of Information

An 'ethical use of information' means to make a clear distinction between received knowledge and the production of new knowledge. The incorporation of the work of others must comply with such distinction. Therefore, every written and/or oral work in the discipline must clearly state its source, if it has any.

May 19, 2010