I used a piece from WBEZ’s series “Curious City” on the Chicago accent on the first day of class to highlight how much fun inquiry can be and to share an example of how questions generate questions, not just answers, as well as the integration of “expert” information with primary data collection. It is also a nice example of the integrations of sound, image, and text in a researched piece. I think it helped the students get their head around the “inquiry” frame for the course, as well as what primary data might look like in conjunction with “expert” opinion and a researcher pulling it all together. The full “answer” to the questions “Where does our unmistakeable Chicago accent come from?” is here.
To begin the discussion, I polled folks about what they know about the Chicago accent and if they thought there was one and then played the the SNL “Superfans” clip. (scroll down a bit on the page linked above and you will see the clip).
Then I played the 7 min audio feature:
After listening, we looked at the coded, linguistic data analysis looked like and had a good discussion about the question, the answer, and other inquiry questions it raised (impact of neighborhood, race, class, etc.). At the end of class, I encouraged students to dig through the rest of the written piece.