It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. (Prov. 25:2)
In the middle of teaching and developing courses over the past year, we realized that a lot of research skills just aren’t taught in school any more. The ability to ask questions directly to our devices at any time of the day or night makes research seem like a relic of the past.
The problem is that getting an answer is not the same as researching. For instance:
- Where did that answer come from?
- Do I have a way to verify the answer with another trusted source?
- What qualifications does the source of the answer have?
- Do I even know if my question is the right one to be asking?
Those are serious questions! And we’re not even questioning the agenda of any technology company providing the search service, etc.
In your homeschool, the memorization of facts is often a good and necessary path to mastery. However, facts alone don’t demonstrate mastery.
We shouldn’t just consume knowledge. We need to find, use, and evaluate it. This is an exercise in the creation mandate.
This online course has the following objectives:
- Learn the biblical principles governing research.
- Practice the skills necessary to research effectively.
- Gain access to some trusted resources that we use ourselves.
What Research Is
Let’s back up for a minute. When God created the world, he infused it with a staggering amount of information. Just think of the amount of DNA in living creatures, the molecular makeup of various soils, and the chemical reactions taking place in all the oceans of the world.
When “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen 2:15), Adam had to know enough to begin the task. He also was given a wife as a helpmeet because the task was daunting and the Lord wanted his image-bearers to become fruitful and multiply.
These were all things God declared to be good. To the extent that Adam was able to understand more about his task and the creation over which he presided, he was fulfilling his calling.1
Whatever the task for sons of Adam or daughters of Eve, understanding is important. Research is the exercise of dominion over knowledge to produce understanding.
This is why academic laziness is, in fact, destructive. It doesn’t exercise dominion.
Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys. (Prov. 18:9)
When Research is Useful
- Douglas Wilson is quite helpful here, particularly with regard to the idea of technology being a form of wealth. Read more in his slim book Ploductivity.