In the conclusion of his three part series, Paul Gatz joins the themes of the first two articles, the teaching of metacognition, legal bibliography, and legal analysis and argument to his conclusion that “to be the experts in legal research we must also be leaders in developing knowledge in our field, furthering the understanding of the legal domain and of our own place within it.” The accuracy of Gatz’s conclusions can enrich our work as we teach students on range of expert subject matter that aligns with and overlaps legal research.
In the first of a three part series, Paul Gatz articulates the importance of acknowledging the “learner’s paradox” that “legal research is the process of identifying and retrieving the law-related information necessary to support legal decision-making.” Expert legal researchers conduct their work within the territory of the known and the unknown, the facts, the suppositions, and the possibilities that skilled and strategic students seek to learn and thereafter apply within their course of studies, and subsequently bring forward to support their respective practice of law. [Link to Part 2 of this series]
In Part 2 of his series [see Part 1 here], Paul Gatz takes a deeper dive into the challenges of effectively teaching the “why” of a document’s relevance to assist students to understand the reasons a given document occupies the role it does within the subject literature. Gatz focuses on the concept of how knowledge in a particular discipline is created, disseminated, and organized (subject knowledge relevance). Gatz states that knowledge content of a discipline is helpful in determining the relevance of a particular document, but an effective relevance determination relies upon a theory of what counts as knowledge, or, in legal practice, what counts as legally valid.
Law librarian and adjunct professor Paul Gatz provides important guidance on social media discourse and information literacy that is especially timely and instructive as we are experiencing an escalating wave of highly questionable news and data through sites such as Facebook.