Recipes and developing research expertise

Dinner with a roast, some vegetables, and trimmings

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During a recent webinar (Hanick & Townsend, 2015) the presenters contrasted how experts work with how novices work.  The remarks made me think of how I gain expertise with my Holiday dishes.

Hanick and Townsend (2015) described expert knowledge as tacit and difficult to convey.  They also highlighted the creativity of experts.

My grandmother, who cooked without recipes, could not easily teach me her dishes:  I rely on recipes.  Depending on the recipe I may need several tries before I am confident with it.  Once I have the way of a recipe, though, I can play with it.

What does this mean for information literacy?  Novice students may need repeated practice with research.  Also, not all students reach the same comfort level with a research concept at the same time.

When and where can students gain the expertise to research creatively?  How do we provide the opportunities for practice?


Hanick, S. L., & Townsend, L. (2015, November 17).  ACRL SLILC big picture theory and the practical classroom: Threshold concepts and information literacy instruction [Video file].  Retrieved from