East Asian Language and Literature Japanese Majors Research Skills

What Should EALL Japanese Majors Know?

By the time of their graduation all EALL majors should understand how literary scholars conduct research 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.

Writing Intensive Classes

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).

Japanese Language

Japanese language instructors will collaborate with the Five College Library East Asian Specialist to prepare for the teaching of the following skills.

Initially Japanese language students should be able to:

  • Use a Japanese word processor.
  • Deconstruct sentences in order to be able to look up words in a dictionary.

More advanced Japanese language students 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.
  • Have the ability to locate Japanese language texts such as short stories or newspaper articles using online search engines and databases.
  • Analyze and integrate various Japanese resources for oral and written presentations.
  • Demonstrate ethical and appropriate use of Japanese language sources used in written assignments.

Junior Year Abroad

Prior to their departure for Junior Year Abroad students should attend a workshop conducted by the Five College Library East Asian Specialist and interested faculty in which they will learn about conducting research in Japanese 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 Japanese 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.

Japanese Literature and Culture

Librarians and faculty will collaborate to provide instruction for students as appropriate in 200 and 300 level classes.  However all majors are expected to attend a workshop to be conducted by the Five College Library East Asian Specialist and a Neilson Library reference librarian.  This workshop will be held annually in the fall for senior majors returning from Junior Year Abroad and for junior majors who are not participating in JYA.

As early as possible Japanese majors 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 Japanese history.
  • Contextualize a topic by using basic scholarly reference sources such as:
    Reference Sources Neilson Call Number
    Cambridge History of Japan Level B West
    DS 835 .C36 1998
    Cultural Atlas of Japan ref DS 821 .C62 1988
    Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture ref DS 833.5 .E516 2002
    Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan ref DS 805 .K633 1983

More advanced Japanese majors 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 Japanese literature by using sources such as:
    Reference Sources Neilson Call Number
    Columbia Companion to Modern East Asian Literature ref PL 493 .C55 2003
    Dictionary of Literary Biography ref PN 451 .D53
    Japanese Literature in Translation (Japanese Foundation) click here
    Modern Japanese Writers ref PL 723 .M563 2001
    Princeton Companion to Classical Japanese Literature ref PL 726.1 .M495 1985
  • Locate scholarly studies through the skilled use of databases such as:
    Databases Access
    Bibliography of Asian Studies (1971+) click here
    JSTOR (back issues excluding the most recent 2-5 years) click here
    MLA International Bibliography (1926+) click here
    Project MUSE (current issues) click here
    WorldCat (all dates) click here

In What Ways Will Student Skills be Assessed?

Students completing work on a 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. Japanese language students at the 200 level should be able to look up kanji in dictionaries by radicals and stroke count, and deconstruct a sentence so that they can look up the terms in a Japanese-English dictionary.

At the 300 level students should routinely cite both primary and secondary sources demonstrating their ability to use the resources listed above. Japanese language students at the 300 level should be able to locate Japanese 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.

November 14, 2008