Abstract

Inquiry‐based learning, that is, developing student capacity to frame and answer significant questions, is at the forefront of twenty‐first century education. Expecting students to ask and solve genuine research questions creates a challenging teaching proposition that editorial cartooning can help solve. While the educational use of editorial cartooning is not a novel concept, asking our students to locate cartoons based on a topic of their choosing and to analyze the satirical debate across these cartoons serves as an accessible inquiry‐driven research project for first‐year college classes that introduces them to academic databases. This essay details the three‐step process used in the college classroom: first, to “mind the gap,” that is, to apply specific rhetorical tools, like parody and juxtaposition, as a means of identifying and analyzing satire; second, to “mine the gap,” that is, to contextualize the cartoons by researching articles about contemporary culture and politics; and third, to “make the gap known” — to share their information with others through an oral presentation and a written essay. This editorial cartoon project, by educating students in research‐encountering behavior, provides a genuine model of inquiry and analysis.

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