UC 1010: Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Exercises

Problem-based Learning: Practice the Research Process

Problem Based Learning (PBL) activities encourage you to use the research skills you have acquired through the library tutorials and mesh them with the critical thinking that you are developing in your WRTG 2010 class. This activity is the critical thinking and problem solving element that reinforces what you have learned through the tutorials.  Basically, this is where you demonstrate that you can:

  1. Identify the problem(s) and formulate a/the research question(s)
  2. Identify concepts and corresponding terminologies, especially if found in different disciplines
  3. Identify resources to consult for background and further in-depth information
  4. Identify possible and/or anticipated answers (i.e., solutions) through the resources

These PBL scenarios are loosely formed problems which require you to consider the issue from any number of different sides.  There really aren't any right or wrong answers, only more or less thoroughly thought out and researched answers.

Things to think about...

  • Ask yourself, "How many questions can I identify within this problem?"
  • Ask yourself, "What are the angles?  How many angles could this problem have? Are they medical, sociological, ecological, economical, etc?"
  • Ask yourself, "Do different disciplines use different terms to describe the concepts in my research questions?  What are these different terms?"
  • Ask yourself, "What are some potential solutions to this problem, right off the top of my head?"  "Can researching the problem and a potential solution lead me to experts?"
  • Ask yourself, "Who are the experts on this problem and where can I find out what they are talking about?"  "Are the experts academics, government agencies, think tanks, journalists, etc?"  Then, find out what these people are saying.
  • Ask yourself, "How will I solve this problem?"

Your instructor will either have you do this activity in class or assign it as homework outside of class.  If you don't do these in class or as homework and if you would like to go the extra mile, you can always meet with a librarian to go through these scenarios as an exercise to better your research and critical thinking skills.

Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library