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CH 1030: Equilibrium: Context

Professor Destin Heilman

Context: Why is it Important?

When you review groups of documents you have identified, consider the context or big picture, how your topic relates to the circumstances or situations that surround it. This can help you determine if something doesn't make sense.

Let's say you are designing a solar-powered space vehicle. You want books and articles on solar powered vehicles and case studies related to using solar power in outerspace. You may also want to consult:

  • general works for context, perhaps on the history of space vehicles
  • documents on specific vehicles designed in the past
  • innovations in the solar industry
  • material on other power options for comparative purposes.

Can you assemble a collection that reflects both the narrower and broader aspects you need? Start with a list of questions that can help you place your topic in context.

If you are researching solar energy, you want to be sure you know how this type of energy fits in with the big picture of global energy consumption.

How Many Parking Spots?

If someone told you that WPI parking lots can hold 6,222 cars, what would you think? Considering that there are around 5000 students and 600 employees and that it is sometimes difficult to find parking, you could determine that the number presented is not correct.