Teacher research, microcomputers and primary education

Teacher research, microcomputers and primary education

TEACHER RESEARCH. PRIMARY G. Department MICROCOMPUTERS EDUCATION H. BELL of Educational Studies. Teesside Polytechnic. Flatts Middlesborough. Clev...

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TEACHER

RESEARCH. PRIMARY G.

Department

MICROCOMPUTERS EDUCATION H. BELL

of Educational Studies. Teesside Polytechnic. Flatts Middlesborough. Cleveland TS6 OQS. England

IRec,rirrd

AND

I9 Agtsr

Lane Centre.

I98 I I

Abstract--This paper reports some expertences artsing from a feasibility study. The study was designed to test the possibilities of different institutions in a local education authority combinmp resources and investtgattng a topic of common concern. The chosen topic. microcomputers in primary education. offered several possible means of investigation. The method finally adopted was selected mainly to focus on the nature of practical problems in introducing microcomputers to primary schools. More specifically. the investigation hoped to throw light on the responses of teachers to microcomputers having neither previous experience of their use nor experience of a particular method of researching their possible etTects. The stud! also attempted to find out how diverse skills and resources in different organisattons could be made accessible to schools. in order that the! may be concentrated on practical difficulties encountered b) teachers In classrooms.

BACKGROUND took place over a number of months between a Department of Educational Studies, a Department of Computer Science. a Polytechnic Computer Centre and members of an education authority’s advisory service. These discussions arose in the context of challenges presented by the new technology which was becoming more widely available to teachers. There was a general feeling that educational possibilities should be tested in advance and resources be evaluated following their distribution. This suggested some kind of controlled setting in which equipment and methods could be systematically investigated by the persons most directly affected. Advantages were seen to arise from attempting to integrate local resources not simply from the standpoint of economics but from the multiplier effect of combining different types of expertise. Some need was also felt for an approach which provided for increased familiarisation with developments which were considered significant yet elusive to describe and difficult to assess across a range of possible applications. Not least. there were identified philosophical, psychological and technical aspects of the use of microcomputers in educational institutions which raised substantial problems of effective research into their character and scope. Even with the availability of large scale financial support for programmes of research. the time-lag for such studies to be conducted and for their findings to percolate to practitioners. seemed unacceptabl! prolonged. Reservations were also expressed about the design and dissemination of much “traditional” educational research. This stimulated reflection on how dissemination to practitioners might be combined with testing the boundaries of practical problems in real situations. However. there was the overriding question of focus: i.e. given the many pressing issues connected with the introduction of microcomputers to primary schools. which aspects of their prospective use should be prioritised for investigation? It was hypothesised that informatics would offer the most significant means of gaining fresh insights. Accordingly. an experimental distinction was raised between the “giving of information’* and “teaching”. This. it was hoped. would provide for exploration of what might be left of the notion of teaching if it proved practicable to subtract aspects of the information imparting function from the primary school teacher’s role and assign this to microcomputers. The outcome of these discussions defined an approach consisting of 3 main elements: Discussions

(iI A project to be externally funded at some future date. containing a pilot project phase. (ii) An immediate feasibility study. to be funded from existing resources. which would test the design assumptions of the pilot project phase of the proposed project. (iii, The adoption of collaborative action research as an appropriate vehicle for inquir!. 235

G. H. BErt

236 I.

.AIMS

AND

OBJECTIVES

PROJECT

(FINAL

OF

A PROPOSED

PHASE,

Principal uims (a) To investigate the informatton giving and information monitoring aspects of a teacher‘s role in relation to problems of managing the curriculum in primary schooi classrooms. (bl To describe and develop an understanding of the man-machine interface with special reference to teachers and pupils in primary schools. Srcondarr

(tints

(c) To evaluate information processing procedures in primary schools. (dl To co-ordinate the activities of several providing agencies. (e) To evaluate various types of microcomputing systems in educational

contexts

Assisting teachers to analyse and describe the information givingireceiving component of their roles. ‘Assisting teachers to analyse and describe the monitoring of information acquisition in their pupils. Assisting teachers to develop skills appropriate to the maintenance and management of data in classrooms. Assisting teachers with no previous knowledge of computer assisted learning to develop techniques and skills appropriate to children of primary school age. .Assisting teachers in the selection. development. testing and evaluation of software. Evaluating and describing the impact of newly introduced microcomputing resources on the classroom environment. The pilot project phuse The purpose of a pilot project would be to test proposed aims and objectives and provide for priorization amongst them. It would establish more clearly what working methods to adopt and would identify problems and opportunities in forward development. Five main processes were identified at this stage as being facilitated by the action research stance adopted: Con.sdting with teachers and co-participants on the most appropriate ways of dealing with practical questions raised by the project aims. Briefing those involved in the project of the main tasks to be accomplished in full operation and suggestions as to how these may be tackled. Prohlrm aoking through finding the most effective means of access to the resources of the joint sponsoring organizations and to the skills of their nominated consultants. Monitoring: establishing appropriate methods of recording progress. Eraluuring: testing the evaluation strategies proposed.

The proposed project in its final phase envisaged a total of 8 primary schools, staged over a period of 3 years. and resourced by 6 full-time equivalent staff. A joint proposal was developed along the lines described above and was submitted to an external funding agency. In the interim. it was agreed to test the design of the project by means of a feasibility study. The emphasis was to be upon the practicability of co-ordinating collaborative work. i.e. amongst teachers. members of staff of two polytechnic departments. a computer centre and local authority advisers. Such a study commenced formally on I May and ended on I September 1980. It was conducted in 2 primary schools and involved the collaborative contributions of 13 volunteer staff conducting action research alongside normal duties. The functions of the feasibility study were: (il To investigate the elfectiveness of an action research methodology as a means of collaborative inquiry. (iit To investigate the responses of practising teachers to the aims of a proposed project (as described). (iii) To test the appropriateness and effectiveness of the combined resources of participating institutions. (iv I To provide an interim evaluation of this form of collaboration.

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research.

mlcrocompulers

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education

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The experience of conducting this study together with some possible pitfalls and pointers as to how worthwhile forms of co-operative research might be achieved. is discussed in what follows. First. the particular definition of collaborative action research adopted is explained. This is followed by an account of what happened in conducting the feasibility study. A concluding section of suggestions offers tentative guidelines for further work. 2. ACTION

RESEARCH

The concept of action research in educational settings is a rapidly evolving one. Whilst there is now a defined methodology appropriate to educational contexts. there are several variants which may be distinguished. “Action research” in this instance implies certain procedures for the generation. analysis. and processing of data. Chief among these procedures is a diagnosis provided by practising teachers of defined aspects of their own practice[l]. More specifically. this feasibility study was designed to test a conception of ‘collaborative action research’ in which teachers research a practical problem and are assisted in doing so by external consultants. Each party makes a contribution to making sense of the classroom situations observed. Teachers acting as researchers of their own practice direct attention to issues perceived as leading to improved arrangements in classrooms. Consultants help focus these perceptions and provide technical assistance in translating them into media through which closer study can be made of the matters of concern [Z]. In this case, technical assistance was to be made available to teacher researchers through a systems analysis approach to teaching so as to illuminate the experimental distinction drawn between “information” and “teaching”: through the development of software so as to translate teaching problems into a form of mechanised assistance: and through suggestions as to how classroom decisions could be systematically investigated so as to evaluate their effects. The project overall was to be evaluated partly through self-evaluation procedures. partly through the judgements of an independent evaluator. and partly through joint critique of a concluding statement. This statement was derived from the summary reports supplied by individuals. as edited for discussion by participants from a standpoint of concerned neutrality. 3.

OUTCOMES

OF

THE

FEASIBILITY

STUDY

A detailed description of this study has been provided elsewhere[3]. I shall confine myself here to offering an overview of some implications arising in undertaking research of this type and later to highlighting some issues in attempting collaborative action research. A preliminary content analysis of the evidence supplied suggests that particular attention should be given in any pilot project to the following: (numbers in brackets indicate frequency of reference).

provision of programming instruction (7) games theory and the definition of educationally valid goals (1) use of upper case in programs (2) jargon (2) computer performance and perceptions of pupil ability (1) spelling theory and program design (1) language interaction and group computer use (6) appropriate frameworks for discussion amongst participants (4) standardisation of program comments (1) definition and clarification of pre-information processing skills (7) software developments (5) the computer as a reinforcer of learning (3) conditions for motivation in pupils (10) conditions for motivation in participants (15) development of improved computer manuals (3) provision of workshops (9) further research topics and research support (4) the role of pupil evaluation (4) information processing programs (1) provision for program print outs (2) managing levels of computer awareness (3j use of graphics and peripherals (2) developing evaluation strategies (1).

2.78

G.

H.

BELL

The participating teachers’ percepttons of the strengths and weaknesses of the feasibility study (and by implication of the proposed pilot project) were compiled using an NCT (Nominal Group Technique) group interview procedure[4]. Twenty one strengths and weaknesses were identified and prioritized in order of felt stgnificance. The top ten in each category are given below: W’rrrknr.\.sr.\ 1. Teachers’ aims are positively geared towards the success of the project. whereas the project members’ aims are theoretical passive. neutral. with no emotional investment. 2. Teachers’ aims overrode project aims. 3. The project needs a more effective “sales drive” to convince teachers of its potential value. 1. More initial input in the form of a tape-library resources: attractively packaged with clear instructions for independent use; relevant to consumers. 5. Alternative microcomputer manuals need to be provided. (The manual supplied is not indexed and appears to be inaccurate in parts.) 6. Teachers only used an introductory course in BASIC and simple programming. 7. A forum of interested participants needs to be established; members to be drawn from other co-operating schools. This forum would allow to the sharing of ideas and materials. 8. Useful additional reference material is requtred. e.g. existing computer print-outs suitable for use by teachers, research literature pertinent to recent developments. 9. Central direction and leadership is needed to motivate. encourage, point participants in the rtght direction. 10. Mismatch of expertise between teachers and computer programming experts. Strenyths 1. Has promoted pupils’ learning by pursuing educationally valid goals. 2. Has promoted pupils’ awareness of computers and of what computers can or cannot do. 3. Has allowed teachers to exploit the computer as a useful teaching-learning tool. 1. Has alerted teachers to the potential benefits of computer assisted learning. 5. Has allowed teachers to compile a program tape-library. 6. Goodness of fit of hardware to classroom routine has enabled the majority of pupils to experience microprocessors in operation. 7. The computer quickly took its place alongside all the other audio-visual aids in the classroom. 8. Children were able to use the computer provrded independently of teachers. 9. At the end of the feasibility study teachers are more aware of the potential of microcomputers in school. 10. Reinforcement of learning is immediate.

The discussion of issues whtch follows represents some personal views arising from the experience of acting as project co-ordinator. The interpretations are derived from the evidence as supplied but necessarily represent a selection from the many that are possible. .4s such. they may or they may not coincide with a consensus view of priorities amongst participants. The main value of a collaborative project at a feasibility study stage seemed to restde in the expertence to be gained from testing proposed project management procedures. A secondary emphasis lay in testing whether collaboration amongst so many providing agencies was going to prove effective. Allied to this was the test of whether novitiate researchers (teachers in schools) could respond to the demands of systematic inquiry. and novitiate action researchers (project staff in the local authority and higher education institutions) respond to the multiple demands made upon them in the course of fulfilling normal duties. The fact that the basic design appeared to work suggests that the model may be rephcable. Such success as it enjoyed depended. paradoxtcally perhaps. upon the separation of interests. Categories of participants were created and specific role definitions provided. This was followed by task definition both in the implementation and reporting stages, What was missing from this strategy and adversely commented upon by most participants were suttable conditions for negotiation of these role and task definitions. A further feature of teacher researcher critictsms was the felt lack of central direction. What had been provided was neutral co-ordinatton. What was repeatedly asked for was “commttted” direction.

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The role of authority and the location of direction in collaborative action research is a complex. little researched. and significant question. One participant expressed the issues in this way: Pl: (this raises). . “the very complex question.. and this we stumbled across this time--‘How can you make use of different kinds of expertise without necessarily assuming a projectdirectorial role?. . Because there would easily be a tendency in a project of this kind to bring in some top flight computer person and some top flight educational theorist and get everyone else doing what they thought it fit for them to do; which would vary the insights of those working directly in the field with children and the whole function of action research is to suppose that these insights which are very difficult to express are highly valuable and well worth having. That then creates the problem of how you match the insights of your people working at the grassroots and actually doing the job--education depending on such grassroots insights in practice-how do you tie that into the kinds of expertise that others might possess that you want to bring to bear yourself without the persons who have that expertise dominating the situation in order to fulfil their theoretical pre-occupations? Action research can disappear into the sand. Centrally directed research can disappear into the clouds”. P2: “Surely, somewhere in the middle, there’s a happy medium?” A further main question was slippage. This undoubtedly occurred between teacher aims and project aims. The intended focus on computer managed learning and in particular the management of information in classrooms was addressed. if at all, at a very rudimentary level. It seemed that the orientation processes needed to adjust to new people. new equipment. and new procedures. overshadowed the subtleties of the content of the proposed inquiry. Teachers chose to orientate themselves through the notion of computer assisted learning and tended to view the technology provided largely as a reinforcement tool This preference may be partially explained by some evidence which suggests that the question as to whether “information” was particularly relevant to junior school children (and even less so to infant schools1 was challenged by participating teachers. Evidence on this point was however contradictory suggesting a need to analyse more clearly the concept of “information” and how this might be distinct from both “learning” and “teaching”. The ambiguity and attendant attempts to by-pass these issues led to signs in a variety of contexts of an infinitely regressive view of the place and function of microcomputers in schools. i.e. that they were mainly suitable for juniors, or really more suitable for secondary pupils. or actually designed for students. who need programmers. who need languages, that (sic) no-one has yet designed for machines which don’t exist’! Slippage also occurred between traditional roles and stereotypes of participants and the new roles that the collaborative research design demanded. “Participants” could be described as “visitors” and be perceived as eager to consume “teacher time”. ‘The project’ could thus be prescriptively re-defined in terms of one or other sectors of the triangulated set which made it up. Both were necessary steps in proposing a conflict model of action and liable to generate those attitudes which subvert the preconditions of effective co-operation. The “project” was ambiguously thought of in terms of the feasibility study. the pilot phase of a proposed project, the project as described in terms of a joint proposal. and yet another project (undefined) that individual participants may have preferred to have been involved in. As has already been commented. methodology too was subject to slippage, from the context of action research with teachers researching their own practice, to a centrally directed project with pre-determined values to be evangelised and packaged. Conflicting pictures emerged between what “good” projects ought to look like and what was being experienced. The implied alternative ideology of a centrally directed team fully conversant with consensus views and agreed values was at odds with the ideals of research in naturalistic settings designed to describe what values there are. ‘Slippage” is a metaphor used here in a non-pejorative sense to suggest varying patterns of match. Sometimes there appeared to be a coincidence of intentions and action. On yet other occasions. there would be evidence of mismatch. Sometimes, this was retogressive with collaboration and co-operation appearing as ideals to be achieved; sometimes as prospective, with collaboration and co-operation understood as an agreed condition for some future action that represented an enhancement of original intentions, In these respects. knowing where the action to be researched actually was seemed to some to be a difFicu1ty leading to demands for fuller explanations. improved orientation procedures. regular workshops and information exchange between participants.

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Teachers us “resrarchrrs” “Research support” was mentioned by teachers as something to be provided. However. the mtegration of an existing tradition of educational research grounded in a logically distinct paradigm needs further investigation. It seems clear that some such relationship is necessary in analysing action both in relation to the criterion of knowledge and in disseminating experience beyond the collaborating groups. From a social psychological standpoint. existing studies supply a reference pomt to facilitate discussion between members with distinct interests. From a logical point of view. focusing discussion on constitutive evidence is a necessary criterion in the development of knowledge. The adoption of such minimal criteria means, amongst other things. that participants having a natural desire to uncover the essence of any particular matter are thereby constrained from holding an essentialist view, i.e. the reduction of complex issues to a single description or hypothesis or a “forced” matching of evidence to the contingent values and beliefs of participants. Such matters are not easily dismissed by the mere assertion of “academic” conventions derived from alternative traditions of inquiry, for such approaches have signally failed to close the gap between research and practice. The utility of an action research methodology is. in these respects. amply justified. However. it might still be asked whether “knowledge” in the fullest sense is being pursued by action research participants or rather how best to.make sense of phenomena that are not finally explained. The criterion of making something “work” may not satisfy questions as to ethical correctness or the epistemological status of claims arising. Nevertheless. increasing interest in educational action research raises afresh questions about the conceptual boundaries of inquiry and its proof. e.g. between “research” and “truth”. “research” and “development”. and “research” and “experiment”. It offers the prospect of an essentially human inquiry without rejecting lessons to be learnt from the behavioural and physical sciences. More specifically it aspires to the development of a general theory of pedagogy by means of a re-definition of the conditions of applied educational inquiry. The central challenge is the conduct of a modified research tradition in which the systematic cumulation of Instances across cases provides for verification and validation[5]. Too often. it is argued. the adoption of “normal” science in educational research has led to verification without validation, i.e. to descriptions of observations made by interpreters acting independently of practitioners. The converse. validation without verification. i.e. unilateral prescriptions of practitioners has led to the pretentious and doctrinaire of an equally unsatisfactory sort. The expectation that teachers can develop practical knowledge by means of systematic Inquiry into their own practice demands an effective synthesis of articulation (analytic research) and action (practical research). Such an approach offers the hope of removing an unnecessary dualism between “teaching” and engaging in “research” (someone elses). Additionally, co-operative action research offers the hope of bringing persons with distinctive interests and expertise into fruitful liaison through dialogue.

4.

SOME

SUGGESTIONS

TOWARDS

FUTURE

ACTION

The conduct of collaborative action research appears to depend on an operational balance struck between the interests and skills of participants. These interests should be defined and made explicit to everyone involved and from time to time be renegotiated. Such a process is necessarily arrived at through open and informed dialogue between members of a prospective action research team. The time this process takes should not be underestimated. For example. for this project to get to a feasibility study stage. it took I4 months (approx. 60 h of discussion). Judging from the experience of this study, further time should be allowed for orientation to the demands of any feasibility study and for these demands to be successfully tackled by al! participants. So far as educational action research in general is concerned, the methodology of conducting this type of research in schools by individual teachers is developing alongside strategies for managing collaborative action research. There is a growing body of literature, but the current situation is largely open and experimental. Such knowledge and experience as exists needs co-ordinating across projects. just as much as techniques need to be developed for ensuring co-ordination within projects. In such a context. I would argue the need for a feasibility study stage in all proposed action research projects. This is consistent with a view (which cannot be argued fully here) about the nature of practical knowledge arising from critical consensus amongst practitioners on significant features of specific cases. The important point here is that what counts as practically significant cannot be known in advance. It takes collaboration in a practical enterprise to uncover what counts as working hypotheses. Thus, an action research feasibility study is essentially a controlled attempt at negotiatmg

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access to the boundaries of a practical problem and announcing in advance an intention to review, re-negotiate and refine future action. In addition. because the majority of teachers increasingly interested in such approaches do not have a formal research training, a feasibility study phase offers orientation with reduced risks. Similarly, colleagues in higher education with a research training in a tradition which is tangential to action research can orientate themselves to school-based, teacher-directed inquiry in real situations. I am describing here an evolved form of the feasibility study actually undertaken. In that instance, planning discussions had reached an advanced stage prior to its introduction to teacher participants in schools. It was felt to be important, on this occasion. to uncover something about processes of interaction when teachers are confronted with development work “cold”: mainly because that approach had been widespread in the past and there seemed to be few indications that change would occur quickly. However. interpretation of the outcomes should be tempered by the knowledge that both participant schools were specially selected for their capacity to cope with the demands of research and development work in this field. To a certain extent. they were considered untypical. and so it proved in their capacity to tolerate uncertainty, take initiatives, voice disinterested criticism and accommodate change. The suggestion arising here is that feasibility studies are, perhaps, best conducted with selected schools from a larger group who could eventually become involved at the later pilot and final project stages. The conduct of such a study, under these circumstances, is likely to give rise to an effective team; forged through the actual processes of collaborating and thus practised in the possibilities as well as the pitfalls. Whereas the feasibility study can include wider questions on (say) the organisation and management of the larger “project”. the pilot project stage can focus on particular aspects of the selected practical problem. The final project stage will depend for its success on participants’ ability to operate as a “network” based on principles which maximise the free flow of information between participants[6]. Readers may have noticed a switch from talk of “research” to “development”. There are important issues here which rank as of equal importance to the point, raised earlier. on the location of control and direction of collaborative action research. Participants expressed it like this: Pl: “. I think the Poly saw this very much as a research project and 1 think the schools saw it as a curriculum development project.. I think schools were looking for more direct help in some ways in the classroom in developing the use of microcomputers. being fairly open ended in the approach.. . the fact was the Poly had much clearer cut hypotheses which they were trying to test to see whether they were feasible things to test.. If we think of future action. then I think that both can go on but it will be far more satisfactory to schools if they felt that their own curriculum development taking place with the use of microcomputers in the school was being aided and at the same time some research was going on almost incidentally”. P2: **. Because it was a feasibility study and solely for that reason. we were concerned to provide the minimum control in that situation and the minimum support of curriculum development activity. I think actually when we go ahead it will have to be a combination of both.. and the two will have to be articulated well together and the boundaries between the two will have to be clearer too”. P3: “. We were pre-occupied in trying to find out what action research meant”. This points. amongst other things. to a preliminary orientation stage. so that all project staff can select amongst alternative methodologies of conducting educational action research. Support literature on such issues is slowly becoming available as the results of experimental projects appear[7], Some of the most useful guidelines are. however, still in restricted circulation. In order to develop this approach yet further. the establishment of an action research data base is called for. In the interim. it seems essential to provide for maximum interaction between individual participants. The circulation of analytical memos, produced by participants as they produce hypotheses. construct diagnoses of the problem and make observations of various possible effects of actions taken is one device for creating information flows in a network. Experience exchange sessions and research methods workshops are others. Indexing and abstracting relevant documents to assist in the diagnosis

242

G. H. BILL

of the practical problems uncovered as the work proceeds can be placed on tile and accessed through use of a microcomputer [8]. Such activities were envisaged in the distmcttons drawn between computer managed and computer assisted learning. There seems to be plentiful scope for further development when one considers that one of the most serious constraints on teacher research is lack of time. A microcomputer can play a role here in providing a processing and control tool in structuring professional and research documentation[9]. A major reason why such developments are slow to emerge is. perhaps. that teaching has not been formally thought of in terms of informatics. As a consequence. there IS a “translation” problem. Some further analysis and critique is called for [ lo]. Another major cause is the dearth of good software. It has been commented recently that there are fewer than 100 good programs currently available to schools. The experience of this study supports this view. Severe difficulties were experienced m gaining access to suitable programs and in commurueating to teachers the difficulties involved in developing them. Whilst several simple programs were. in fact, developed within the time set for the study (effectively ten weeks). there were frustrations evident between programmers and teachers arising partly through lack of communication. partly through ignorance. and partly through faults in overall management. or failure of equipment. Nevertheless. it may be concluded from the limited evidence of this study. that actlon research approaches offer considerable scope for dealing cost-effectively with such problems. Above all. action research offers a means of bringing divisions in our educational service closer together. not through indiscriminate sentiment. or ideological attachments. but through the subject matter of urgent practiinterests. REFERENCES Elliott J.. What IS action-research In schools. J. Currrctriur,~ Sr~rrl~e.\ IO, 355-357 (19781. .Arecent study which investigates home effects on team members ofcollaborati~e actlon research 13 outlined m Huling L. The effect on teachers of partlcipatlon in an interactlie research and development project. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis. Texas Technical Umverslty. U S.A. f 1981). Bell G. H. (Ed.) lnformatlcs m primary education: a feasibility study of a collaboratl\e research proJect. Teesside Polytechntc. Department of Educational Studies I 1981)In press. I am Indebted to those colleague> whose work is represented by this stud) from which this paper 1s largely derived. O’Neil M. J. Nominal group techmque: an evaluation data-collectlon process. Ef,u/. .Scw&rr (19811 Stenhouse L. Case study and case records: towards a contemporary history 01‘ education. Br Ed~rc Rc\ J. 4. 21-39 (1978). The author is currently investigatmg the use of interactive data bases In promotlng InformatIon tlou In networks of teacher researchers. Recent publications include: Nixon J. (Ed,. T~~~cltrr.\ ,,I RL’WWC/L Schools Council (19791: Nixon J. IEJ). 4 Tcadwrs Guidv ro .Ac,rion Rr.stwc~h. Grant Mclntvre (1981): Simons H. (Ed). T’uwtrrd.\ u Sclentc, & r/u Sinyulur. Centre For Applied Research in Educailon. Um\ersity of East ,Angha. England (19801: and publications of the C/u.s.~~oo,t~.4crio,l Rr.worck .Vcr\rork (C.A.R.N.1 available from Cambridge Institute of Education. England. An excellent mtroduction to information retrieval written for the non-expert is contamed m Hkman 11. Jnd Wallis E.. Mini-computers and bibliographic information retlrieval. British Llbrar) Research and Development Reports. Report No. 5305 HC (19761. Issues connected with the management of documentation I) comprehenslcely treated m Stlblc v. P~,r\om~/ Do~~uwnr~mon /w P~~o/u.~sionu/.s .McwI.~ mtl .2lrr/wt/r. North-Holland. .Amsterdam I 19801. The work of the INSCRU (Information Skills m the Curriculum Research Unit\. >ponsored b) the Brlrlsh Library Research and Development Department ma! !leld some further lnsl_ehts here. See also. Brahe T The need to know: teaching the importance of information. British Librar, Research and Development Reports. Report No. 551 I (IWO).