What is scholarship?
Scholarship is a process of learning where knowledge is acquired by academically studying an idea, issue, or event. Scholarship includes research that advances theoretical perspectives and/or professional applications.
Scholarship is a conversation.
Scholarship can be considered a conversation within a specific field because it allows experts to create, debate, and weigh ideas against one another over time. Experts contribute to this discussion by publishing articles, books, reports, dissertations, etc., which may provide new information, critiques, and arguments. The information produced in these publications can be used to build our understanding of a topic, compare competing perspectives, establish answers, or respectfully contest ideas.
Remember, this conversation is ongoing. As new research is published, the conversation can change over time. Theories and concepts may be reinforced or disproven, and new ideas may be introduced. This published body of literature helps to connect researchers around the world as well as over time. Remember, there are many voices to be heard and the individual works that you read may not be representative of all perspectives on any given topic. There are many conversations occurring at once, and not everyone may agree. A single source represents just the research and findings of that one author (or group of authors).
When you begin investigating a topic, you are entering a conversation that has already begun and will continue to evolve. Students have a voice in this conversation as well, so you should consider yourself to be both a consumer and producer of information. As a consumer, you should read enough articles to gain a sense of context for the conversation on your topic. While you won’t be able to read every article ever written on a topic, review an article’s reference list or bibliography to help find related and important works. Thinking of scholarship as a conversation also helps emphasize the importance of citing your sources so credit for previous works can be attributed to the author and readers can locate related sources to view for themselves. This process helps keep the conversation moving forward while also strengthening your own voice in the conversation with evidence and supporting details.
Association of College & Research Libraries. (2015). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education [Webpage]. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework#conversation
Eisen, A. (2014, May 12). Research 101: Scholarship as conversation [Video podcast]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/YGia3gNyHDM