Spencer writes in the library, part 3: Punchcard catalog.

Written by: Spencer Greenhalgh

Primary Source: Spencer Greenhalgh


This episode of Spencer Writes in the Library took place on Friday, 11 July around 1:30pm

The Spot

Where am I working today?

On the second floor of the west wing, at the desks and tables near the restrooms and water fountain.

What’s a perk of this spot?

A shelf! I tend to spread out a lot, and having two levels to work with makes it less likely that I’ll run out of space.

What’s a problem with this spot?

No cell phone signal. This isn’t a huge deal – just about anyone who needs to get in touch with me has other ways of doing so, but Murphy suggests that I will miss at least one crucial call if I continue to work up here.

What have I learned in this spot?


I grabbed a nearby book so that I could learn something and report on it here, but I’ve actually come up with more questions than answers. I opened up the book to find the following slip tucked into a pocket at the front of the book. Now, I’m familiar with pre-computer methods of checking books out from the library, and I’m familiar with the concept of a punchcard, so I’m assuming that this is a combination of the two. I’ve never seen a punchcard used to keep track of a library’s inventory, though, so I’ll have to do some more poking around to confirm my hypothesis.

How would I rate this spot?

5 out of 5 dentists. (Why dentists?)

The Work

What am I working on today?

I’ve been going through John Creswell’s book Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Starting Fall semester, I’ll be working with MSU’s Residential College of Arts and Humanities, running one of their Integrated Language Options. I’m interested in getting some publishable research out of this project, especially since I have a research practicum to do during my second year, so I’m using Creswell’s book to guide me through the process of putting together a research project. I’ve put together a handful of research proposals during my first-year classes, but since I’ll actually be carrying this one out, I need to get it right!

What’s the highlight from today’s work?

Creswell had some valuable advice on considering the philosophical underpinnings of your research design. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods approaches not only contribute different things to the literature but they often represent different beliefs about what knowledge is and why it matters. I’m not sure that I’ve wrapped my head around everything quite yet, but it’s something that I’ll keep in mind as I press forward with this project.

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Hi there! My name is Spencer Greenhalgh, and I am a student in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology doctoral program at Michigan State University. I came to Michigan State University with a strong belief in the importance of an education grounded in the humanities. As an undergraduate, I studied French and political science and worked as a teaching assistant in both fields. After graduation, I taught French, debate, and keyboarding in a Utah private school before coming to MSU, where I plan to study how technology can be used to help students connect the humanities with their lives. I have a particular interest in the use of games and simulations to promote ethical reasoning and explore moral dilemmas, but am eager to study any technology that can help students see the relevance of studying language, culture, history, and government.