Academic Year 2002-2003
The EOTU Working Group met 18 times during the 2002-03 academic year under sponsorship of the UIUC Center for Advanced Study. Broadly, we explored ways of thinking about the university as an object of study, and more specifically as an object of ethnographic investigation. Further, we devoted sessions to thinking about how to execute EOTU as a working project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In conjunction with the EOTU Working Group Meetings, in fall 2002 our visitors from off-campus participated in a lecture series, The Future of the University: Knowledge, Networks, Pedagogy. We emerged from our 2002-03 activities with an understanding of our approach to the university as a composite of prose, numerical, visual, and network narratives and with a plan for the 2003-04 pilot phase of EOTU. Our meetings are open to the public and additionally we look forward to welcoming new members to the group.
OVERVIEW OF SESSIONS
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: History and Constructs (August 28, 2002)
University Narratives (September 4, 2002)
University Numbers (September 11, 2002)
Assessing the University (September 18, 2002)
University Networks: IKNOW (Inquiring Knowledge Networks on the Web) (October 2, 2002)
Organizing the University (October 9, 2002)
Performance and the University (October 16, 2002)
The Inquiry Page and Web-Based Learning Communities (October 23, 2003)
Working Session: EOTU Web-Based Learning/Archiving Template (October 30, 2002)
Student Writing and Writing Studies (November 6, 2003)
The Protection of Human Subjects (November 13, 2002)
Fall Semester Wrap-Up (December 4, 2002)
The University and the Community (February 7, 2003)
Archiving Student Life and Culture (Friday, January 24)
Institutional Memory (March 7, 2003)
An Ethnographic Tool-kit (March 21, 2003)
Another Look at University Narratives: The University as Work-Place (April 4, 2003)
Documenting Student Learning: A National Perspective (April 18, 2003)
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: History and Constructs
August 28, 2002
Winton Solberg, Emeritus Professor of History, UIUC
Znaniecki, Florian. 1994. The Social Role of the University. Nakom: Wydawnictwo. (Authored in the 1940s, this work is based on ethnographic research on the University of Illinois). Pp. 11-13, 26-73.
Solberg, Winton U. 1968. The University of Illinois, 1867-1894: An Intellectual and Cultural History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Passim.
Solberg, Winton U. 2000. The University of Illinois, 1894-1904: The Shaping of the University. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Passim.
In this session we read selections from preeminent sociologist Florian Znaniecki’s ethnographic mid-1940s study of the University of Illinois. Beyond its local color, we were interested in this text because it explores the “university” and the “university student” as research heuristics a wonderful way to begin our forays into de-naturalizing the university so as to think of it in new ways.
Fascinating were the diverse responses to the Znaniecki reading. While some readers thought that Znaniecki was describing prevailing ideologies or images of the university/student, other readers took him to be documenting the actual life of the university/student. Disagreements on the nature of his project aside, something of a consensus emerged that students are indeed agents in the making of their university lives and learning and have been historically as well, although their opportunities for agency have developed over time. This said, there was a diversity of opinion expressed as to whether the individual-focused, elitist, and faculty-centered ideology that Znaniecki describes for the 1940s has salience for thinking about the University of Illinois today.
Professor Solberg, author of many works on the history of UIUC, offered a short lecture, giving us a window on the struggles of the University of Illinois to become a “great” University.
September 4, 2002
Faith Gabelnick, President, Pacific University
Ewell, Peter. 1998. Who Do You Think You Are? The Art of Institutional Reality Check. University Business. Pp. 20-1.
Gabelnick, Faith. 2002. Leading Institutional Transformation: The Architecture of Change.
Gabelnick, Faith, Jean MacGregor, Roberta S. Matthews, and Barbara Leigh Smith. 1990. Learning Community Foundations. In Idem. Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines. New Directions for Teaching and Learning 41. pp. 5-18 (and Table 1, pp. 32-7).
EOTU Working Group members arrived ready to discuss their own narratives about UIUC’s particular character and indeed there was enormous variety. Our local narratives were particularly interesting in light of those of President Gabelnick who, as her article documents, found herself at a small institution in search of a University narrative. Dr. Gabelnick’s history and memory work at Pacific University facilitated the creation of a narrative that fostered “community.” Students, faculty, and various Pacific affiliates used that narrative to locate themselves in a “tradition.” The institutionalization of these narratives seemed to give them greater self-respect. In a different vein, many EOTU Working Group members spoke about initial or ongoing encounters with prevailing and quite forceful narratives of the University of Illinois. Although time did not allow people to set those narratives in the relief of their ongoing lives and practices at the University of Illinois, we began to get a feeling for the ways in which some of us have bristled with or contested some of these narratives (e.g., of “community,” of “research over teaching,” of value placed in the hard sciences over the humanities and social sciences, etc.).
Faith’s interest in the ways in which university buildings and spaces reveal narratives (e.g., signature buildings) sparked a lively discussion on our diverse spatial lives at this University (from the Hall of Presidents to the quirks of the English Building).
In addition to her path-breaking work as a university president, Dr. Gabelnick is an expert on learning communities. We discussed some of her writings on learning communities so as to think about the future of EOTU as a particular campus-wide learning community.
September 11, 2002
Carol Livingstone, Associate Provost and Director, Division of Management Information, UIUC
Marilyn Murphy, Associate Director, University Office for Academic Policy Analysis, UI
(From Carol Livingstone)
Division of Management Information
Campus Organizational Chart
Student Enrollment Reports
Course Information System
The Association for Institutional Research, Code of Ethics
(From Marilyn Murphy)
University Office of Academic Policy Analysis
University Office of Academic Policy Analysis Databook
The Illinois Commitment: Partnerships, Opportunities, and Excellence (IBHE)
Ewell, Peter T. 2002. An Emerging Scholarship: A Brief History of Assessment. In Building a Scholarship of Assessment. T.W. Banta and Associates, eds. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Pp. 3-25.
Shadish et al. 1991. “Good Theory for Social Program Evaluation” in Foundations of Program Evaluation: Theories of Practice.
University of Illinois Information Scavenger Hunt
1. How many faculty are at the Urbana campus? (Your answer must include a definition of “faculty.”)
2. What percent of Urbana freshmen in the entering class of 1993 graduated within 4 years?
3. What is the student/faculty ratio at Urbana? (Please define “student” and “faculty.”)
Marilyn and Carol directed the EOTU Working Group to publicly available data on UIUC as well as the three-campus University of Illinois. We had a great time with the “UI Information Scavenger Hunt” indeed, there was no single or simple answer to any question, and we learned again and again that numbers can be made to tell multiple stories. This proved a wonderful lesson on the challenges and values of data collection and use (e.g., by U.S. News and World Report). We had a lovely discussion of our own campus profile and the values implicated in higher education information generally. We took up the question posed by Shadish, Cook, and Levitan, “What is the social problem that the/our university is designed to solve?” in order to consider what we base our evaluation on. We also discussed the local origins and the use of our campus profile. And we generated considerable criticism of The Illinois Commitment, Illinois Board of Higher Education’s public statement of its vision for public higher education in the state.
Assessing the University
September 18, 2002
Peter Ewell, Senior Associate, National Center for Higher Education Management System
Ewell, Peter T. 1997. Accountability and Assessment in a Second Decade: New Looks or Same Old Story (Keynote Address). In Assessing Impact: Evidence and Action. pp. 7-21. Washington, DC: American Association of Higher Education.
We were joined by Peter Ewell, a tour de force on the history, problems, and future of assessment in higher education. Peter posed the following questions to the EOTU Working Group:
University Networks: IKNOW (Inquiring Knowledge Networks on the Web)
October 2, 2002
Noshir Contractor, Professor, Speech Communication, UIUC
Chunke Su, Doctoral Student, Speech Communication, UIUC
Prior to this session, Noshir Contractor and Chunke Su ran IKNOW, a software application developed at UIUC, on the EOTU Working Group. Designed to capture information networks, IKNOW is interested in “who knows who, who knows what, who knows who knows who,” etc. Taking our group as a network metaphor for the university more broadly, Noshir led us in a fascinating discussion of how attention to networks refigures our understandings of institutions and the ways in which they work.
Organizing the University
October 9, 2002
Susanne Lohman, Professor, Political Science, UCLA
Lohmann, Susanne. 2002. Can’t the University Be More Like Business? Working Paper.
Lohmann, Susanne. 2002. Herding Cats, Moving Cemeteries, and Hauling Academic Trunks: Why Change Comes Hard to the University. Working Paper.
Lohmann’s research focuses on how universities change, and how the people within them contribute to that change or don’t. She observed that information typically moves slowly through the university, and that it tends to be “thick” at its point of origin in departments, and “thin” when it reaches its destination at the top of the administrative hierarchy. As an example, she described how “thick” tenure cases become thinner and thinner as they progress through the review process. Many details are lost, and some become emphasized in ways unintended by candidates and their departments.
Lohmann is particularly interested in how participants in university life gather information about one another. For example, how does a chancellor come to know whether a dean truly espouses the institutional values to which the chancellor subscribes? And knowing that information is being gathered about them, how do deans handle information to make themselves “look good”? Lohmann argued that key here is the avoidance of controversy: she illustrated her point by describing a dean’s handling of a student academic integrity case. Rules of academic integrity a core institutional value must be respected, but conflict that would precipitate undue publicity must be avoided. Lohmann believes that this sort of balancing act ultimately leads to ossification in institutions like universities. Change, she says, is difficult to come by.
And yet, Lohmann suggests, institutions must surely change to preserve themselves. On this point, she offered the example of a highly selective liberal arts institution at which it annually costs $60,000 to deliver a student’s education. The “sticker price” for this education is $30,000, of which the typical student pays $10,000. Without change based on wide circulation of this financial analysis, such an institution will not survive, and the values it intends to inculcate in students will be lost.
Performance and the University
October 16, 2002
David Stark, Professor, Sociology, Columbia University
Girard, Monique and David Stark. 2001. Distributing Intelligence and Organizing Diversity in New Media Projects. Presented as the conference, “Beyond the Firm: Spatial and Social Dynamics of Project-Organization.” University of Bonn, April 27-28.
Stark, David. 2001. Ambiguous Assets for Uncertain Environments: Heterarchy in Postsocialist Firms. P. DiMaggio, ed. The Twenty-First-Century Firm: Changing Economic Organization in International Perspective. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 69-104.
Stark, David. 2003. For a Sociology of Worth. Working Paper.
David Stark’s work addresses notions of social worth, distributed intelligence, the uses and organization of diversity, value/values, and accounts (in the sense of both bookkeeping and narration). With David we talked about the “university” as a system of value, and we began to envision what it would mean to conduct ethnography of the ways in which the university and its constituents assign value to diverse acts and activities. We spoke about the double-entendre of “performance” as both what we do or enact, and what we are judged on. In our conversation, we considered the following questions about our units/workplaces: How do we account for ourselves and calculate the work of our units and ourselves? How do students do this? Do we know and would it be useful to know? What are the dominant organizational narratives that we take up or contest? With our discussion of ossification with Susanne and her point that universities transform by designing decentralized structures that generate messy incentives, do you see evidence of such design in your units or in the interdisciplinary units with which you are associated etc.?
The Inquiry Page and Web-Based Learning Communities
October 23, 2003
Chip Bruce, Professor, Library and Information Sciences, UIUC
Bruce, Bertram C., and Ann P. Bishop. 2002. Using the Web to Support Inquiry- Based Literacy Development. Reading Online http://www.readingonline.org/electronic/JAAL/5-02_Column/index.html
Lunsford, Karen J., and Bertram C. Bruce. 2001. Collaboratories: Working Together on the Web. Reading Online http://www.readingonline.org/electronic/JAAL/9-01_Column/index.html
Chip Bruce led a discussion of his Inquiry Page project, a web-based environment for reporting on a range of research, including qualitative local study, and on his course, “Literacy in the Information Age” (for which students do local research). In that session we began a discussion of the similarities of the Inquiry Page and EOTU, as simultaneously face-to-face learning communities and inquiry-based pedagogical projects. From this session emerged the initial conversations about the possibility of housing EOTU at the Inquiry Page site.
Working Session: EOTU Web-Based Learning/Archiving Template
October 30, 2002
Run as a working session, EOTU Working Group members broke into groups to discuss the sort of space/environment (we agreed on the importance of a metaphor for the space) that we might configure to “house” the Ethnography of the University of Illinois. As expected, that session generated as many questions as it did ideas. We were struck that many of the queries and ideas touched nicely upon earlier discussions in the seminar, among them the intellectual challenge of demarcating the bounds of the University. Here follows some of the queries generated:
Student Writing and Writing Studies
November 6, 2003
Gail Hawisher, Professor, English and the Center for Writing Studies, UIUC
Steven Lamos, Doctoral Student, English, and Director of the Writers’ Workshop, UIUC
Peter Mortensen, Associate Professor, English, UIUC
Paul Prior, Associate Professor, English and the Center for Writing Studies, UIUC
Jody Shipka, Doctoral Student, English, UIUC
From Gail Hawisher: Online portfolios from ENGL 405 (1997, 1999). “In the overview for the course, I write that: ‘A requirement for class is an online portfolio, one that includes writings which you've completed over the course of the semester. Because I believe that at some point you might find value in online (and offline) portfolios for your own teaching or writing, I want you to experience the pleasures of compiling a collection of your work, however tentative that work might be.’”
Durst, Russel K. 1999. Collision Course: Conflict, Negotiation, and Learning in College Composition. Urbana: NCTE.
Herrington, Anne J., and Marcia Curtis. 2000. Persons in Process: Four Stories of Writing and Personal Development in College. Urbana: NCTE.
Gail, Paul, Peter, Steve, and Jody introduced us to the teaching of writing at UIUC (organizationally, intellectually, historically, politically, etc.) as well as to the field of Writing Studies. The links to EOTU are many, among them:
The Protection of Human Subjects
November 13, 2002
Lizanne DeStefano, Professor, College of Education, and Associate Dean for the Research Bureau
The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects. 1979. The Belmont Report, Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research (http://ohrp.osophs.dhhs.gov/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.htm)
Lizanne led us in a fascinating discussion of the Belmont Report. We then turned to the following revealing hypothetical cases that she distributed:
1. Professor Ed has been supervising student internships in his department for the past three years. Interns work full-time, off-campus in real work settings directly related to their major while receiving course credit. They are supervised on-site by an employee of that organization in addition to receiving University supervision. As part of the University requirements, Ed asks each intern to complete and submit a journal of their internship experiences. A portion of the journal is unstructured where students may write about anything they choose. At other times, Ed asks the students to reflect upon specific aspects of their internship (e.g., initial adjustment, organizational climate, interpersonal interactions with peers and supervisors, work expectations, etc). Students submit their journals electronically each month for feedback. At the end of the internship, the local supervisor submits a performance evaluation. Ed submits a S/U grade for the student based on his evaluation of the journal and the local performance evaluation.
Ed believes that the journals (he has collected over 100 in the past three years) are an excellent data source for documenting the process of “becoming a professional” in his field. He would like to analyze the journals for prominent themes and trends, selecting quotes to illustrate major issues. This would likely involve disaggregating data by gender, type of internship, and other demographic variables. He would also like to look for relationships between students’ perceptions of their internship and local supervisors’ evaluations. Ed thinks this information would make a contribution to professional education in his field. It could also be used within his department to improve the quality of the program.
What are the human subjects research issues in this case? How would you advise Ed to proceed?
2. Professor Ann is studying the relationship between eating habits and body image. She and her research assistants plan to observe people eating in public places such as restaurants, food courts, sporting events, public swimming pools, etc. and engage them in conversations about what they eat and how they feel about the way they look. They are also interested in taking candid photographs of the people they observe for use in publications and presentations. They do not plan to ask for the names of any subjects in their data collection.
What are the human subjects research issues in this case? How would you advise Ann to proceed?
3. Professor Ken is conducting a large survey study on the spending patterns of people in the 18 to 21 year age group. In order to maximize his return rate, he plans to conduct a lottery in which one of the respondents will receive $10,000.
What are the human subjects research issues in this case? How would you advise Ed to proceed?
In that session, and throughout the 2002-03 activities, it became very clear that EOTU poses considerable human subjects and intellectual property challenges. Aspiring to an on-line archive, EOTU needs thus to pay attention simultaneously to the rights of both the objects (i.e., informants) of student ethnographic research and to those of the student researchers as well.
Fall Semester Wrap-Up
December 4, 2002
We devoted this final 2002 session to a wrap-up of the semester activities. We also discussed the spring 2003 semester, agreeing to devote those sessions to more applied matters matters germane to getting EOTU off the ground as a pedagogical project.
The University and the Community
February 7, 2003
Mark Aber, Associate Professor, Clinical and Community Psychology
Aaron Ebata, Associate Professor, Human and Community Development
Thom Moore, Director, Psychological Services Center, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Psychology
Julian Rappaport, Professor, Clinical and Community Psychology
Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania
See link to “Education and Courses”: http://www.upenn.edu/ccp/educate.shtml
Center for the Health Professions, University of California at San Francisco, Community Campus Partnerships for Health
See link to “Community Scholarship”: http://futurehealth.ucsf.edu/ccph/scholarship.html
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of University Partnerships
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Partnership Illinois
Continuing our longstanding interesting in the complexity of the boundaries of the university, we focused this session on the connection between the university and the community. Our visitors each discussed their own work at the university borderlands, and more specifically the ways in which they have worked to encourage a greater community ethnic on the part of the university and its constituents. We reached agreement that EOTU can work very effectively by taking the time to study the many existing practices and practitioners at these borderlands. We also decided that EOTU itself as both a learning community and an archive can serve as its own “information kiosk” to the university, a gateway that might help serve community members and groups interested in creatively accessing the resources of the university.
Archiving Student Life and Culture
Friday, January 24
Ellen Swain, Archivist, Student Life and Culture Archives and Assistant Professor, Library Administration
“Remembering Alma Mater: Connecting Students of the Present, Past and Future” (working paper)
On site, Ellen Swain introduced us to the UIUC Student Life and Culture Archives (www.library.uiuc.edu/ahx/slc). The only archive of its kind in the United States, we were very excited by the future prospects of collaboration (see link for our EOTU Nested Project on student archiving). Ellen assembled a gallery or print, pictorial, and material items to introduce the archives. We were very convinced that not only will these archives serve as a remarkable resource for student research, but also that students should be very interested in the consideration of students’ own archiving practices ones that are, we discussed, increasingly digital (e.g., web-logs or “blogs,” instant messaging, e-mail).
March 7, 2003
Beth Sandore, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology Planning and Policy, and Professor of Library Administration (http://door.library.uiuc.edu/faculty/Sandore.htm)
Lanny Arvan, Assistant CIO, CITES Office of Educational Technology, and Associate Professor, Economics (http://www.cba.uiuc.edu/faculty/arvan.html)
Young, Jeffrey. “‘Superarchives’ Could Hold All Scholarly Output: Online collections by institutions may challenge the role of journal publishers.” Chronicle of Higher Education, (July 5, 2002) (URL: http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i43/43a02901.htm).
Johnson, Richard K. “Institutional Repositories: Partnering with Faculty to Enhance Scholarly Communication.” D-Lib Magazine (November 2002); Volume 8 Number 11; ISSN 1082-9873. http://www.dlib.org/dlib/november02/johnson/11johnson.html
SPARC Institutional Repositories Resource Page includes information specific to SPARC’s mission to offer alternatives to the traditional commercial scholarly publishing avenues; but also provides an incomplete list of institutional repository projects, world-wide. (URL: http://www.arl.org/sparc/core/index.asp?page=m1)
Eprints.org Site:(Southampton University, England) self-archiving and open archives describes the open source eprints software, links to implementers and services world-wide; emphasis on open access and digital archiving methods to preserve refereed published research (URL: http://www.eprints.org/)
The eScholarship Repository, sponsored by the California Digital Library of the University of California, offers faculty in the social sciences and humanities a central location for depositing scholarship. The repository provides persistent access to the items deposited and makes them easily discoverable. (URL: http://escholarship.cdlib.org/repositories.html based on the BePress [Berkeley Electronic Press] software)
MIT DSpace archive open source software developed jointly by MIT and Hewlett-Packard for archiving institutional research output. (URL: https://hpds1.mit.edu/index.jsp)
Ohio State University’s Knowledge Bank publications, informal communications about initial research questions and data, classroom presentations, preprints, technical reports, formal publications
Beth Sandore led us in a fascinating discussion of the challenges that universities face as they think and attempt to preserve their intellectual property, including their digital output. We began with the following passage on institutional repositories:
In contrast to discipline-specific repositories and subject-oriented or thematic digital libraries, institutional repositories capture the original research and other intellectual property generated by an institution’s constituent population active in many fields. Defined in this way, institutional repositories represent an historical and tangible embodiment of the intellectual life and output of an institution. And, to the extent that institutional affiliation itself serves as the primary qualitative filter, this repository becomes a significant indicator of the institution’s academic quality.
Beth then encouraged us to consider these questions:
We agreed that the decisions and plans that comprise institutional repositories offer a remarkable window on the identity and values of an institution and its constituents. Quite simply, we agreed that decisions about what to include and about who should be the arbiters of what to include speak volumes about systems of value.
Crow, Raym. The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper. The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition, Washington, DC 20036. (URL: http://www.arl.org/sparc/IR/ir.html) (August 27, 2002).
An Ethnographic Tool-kit
March 21, 2003
Nancy Abelmann, Associate Professor, Anthropology and East Asian Languages and Cultures
Josie Beavers, EOTU Undergraduate Intern
William Kelleher, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Nicole Ortegon, EOTU Undergraduate Intern
Sara Phelan, EOTU Undergraduate Intern
Teresa Ramos, EOTU Undergraduate Intern
Basso, Keith. 1996. Wisdom Sits in Places (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press). 58-65.
Balshem, Martha. 1993. Cancer in the Community: Class and Medical Authority. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian). 54-64.
Bourdieu et al., eds. 1999. The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 610-615.
Foley, Douglas. 1990. Learning Capitalist Culture: Deep in the Heart of Tejas. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 63-69.
Manalansan, Martin F. IV. 2003. Migrancy, Modernity, Mobility: Quotidian Struggles and Queer Diasporic Intimacy. Manuscript.
In the interests of creating a web-based ethnographic toolkit for EOTU participants, we discussed several short selections that reveal different ethnographic techniques including interviews, focus groups, and spatial and body analysis. EOTU undergraduate interns, discussed their in-progress web-based discussion of field research, a discussion that was edited for inclusion on this site. [Link]
Another Look at University Narratives: The University as Work-Place
April 4, 2003
Allan Borst, Doctoral Student, English, and Co-President, Graduate-Employees’ Organization, IFT/AFT
Cary Nelson, Professor Emeritus, English, and Second Vice-President, American Association of University Professors
Graduate-Employees’ Organization, IFT/AFT
American Association of University Professors
In this session, Allan and Cary explained how their organizations narrate the university, and the place of students and faculty in it. Narratives discussed in previous sessions featured “learning” prominently. Allan explained that in its narratives, GEO pairs “learning” with “labor” in an effort to make visible the work that teachers must perform to sustain an intellectual community for undergraduate students. For his part, Cary argued that intellectual community is made possible by academic freedom, the protection of which is the central mission of AAUP. Cary explained that while academic freedom may be vested primarily in tenured faculty members, the protection it affords extends to others hence the need for tenured faculty to guard against its erosion.
Documenting Student Learning: A National Perspective
April 18, 2003
Barbara Cambridge, Vice President, American Association of Higher
The AAHE’s more than 9,000 members include faculty, administrators, and students from across the spectrum of postsecondary education. Representatives from foundations, government, accrediting bodies, business, and the media also number among AAHE’s membership. The association supports major initiatives on assessment, faculty roles and rewards, service-learning, and teaching.
Barbara helped us better understand how the Ethnography of the University fits within national trends toward making teaching and learning at research universities more visible, developing meaningful assessments of teaching and learning, and strengthening ties between universities and the communities they serve.
We began with a set of simple question:
Our discussion broadened to include more complex questions: