Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Suggestion Specifying Knowledge When Asking for Textbook Recommendation

  1. Jun 26, 2016 #1

    There are far too many instances where a member will start up a new thread, ask for a textbook recommendation, not specify their current knowledge, and then never reply again.

    I think it should be required that they specify what they already know (kind of like the homework templates); otherwise, no one can assist them.

    Just a suggestion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2016 #2

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    And how do we make them do this? there are lots of threads with insufficient information: "How do you do problem 3 in Tuesday's assignment?"
  4. Jun 27, 2016 #3

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Sure, great idea, I fell into that trap myself with this one....


    The problem I see is that we get students who think that they are ready for advanced texts because they do a google search for a subject and drop a well known book title. We also fall into that trap by telling them for example to go straight to Sakaurai after they read Halliday and Resnik for quantum mechanics, that isn't the book to initially learn from when you have no background. Maybe we should take this to the advisors lounge......
  5. Jun 27, 2016 #4
    Like the homework template. Instead of:
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    It would be:
    Current background/knowledge:

    And then they would have to check a box that says, "I have specified my current knowledge."

    @micromass, what are your thoughts?
  6. Jun 27, 2016 #5
    I love the idea. I do agree with Vanadium that many people will still ignore the template, but I think that many people will see the template and try to fill it in. So while a template would not solve everything, there will likely be less posts with inadequate information. So it's a good thing.

    If it were up to me though, I would request a lot more than background. Finding a book right for you is a sensitive issue. The more information you have,t he more adequately you can find a book for the person.

    So perhaps not all of this should be in the template but it's really handy to know the following:
    - Current knowledge
    - What are the reasons for studying this specific subject
    - What style in books do you like/dislike? For example: a lot of proofs, focus on applications, verbose, etc.
    - What are your ultimate goals?
  7. Jun 27, 2016 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Note: Mentors and advisors should see the thread in the Mentor's forum on this.
  8. Jun 27, 2016 #7
    For all other members: the existence of a mentor's forum cannot be confirmed or denied.
  9. Jun 27, 2016 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Er, you realize the advisors can't see the Mentor's forum either?
  10. Jun 28, 2016 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    That's a lie, spread by those who have never seen the glory of the Mentor's private forum!

    But seriously, if that's the case, ignore my previous post.
  11. Jun 28, 2016 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Micro seems to see the mentor's forums as some kind of shady government conspiracy. Drakkith seems to see them as a religious experience.

    Micro is an ex-mentor. Drakkith is a current mentor.

    Hmmmm... Somebody call Mulder.
  12. Jun 28, 2016 #11


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    We can't find him. He seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth.
  13. Jun 28, 2016 #12


    User Avatar

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Similar Threads for Specifying Knowledge Asking
Complaint Is it wrong to ask, why something can't work?