Wednesday, March 11, 2020

SearchResearch Challenge (3/11/20) When do you need to provide context?

When we answer a search Challenge... 

... we usually just give the answer, and since it's SearchResearch, we give the method by which we found the answer.  

But sometimes, an answer needs to be a bit more than just an answer.  Sometimes you need to explain your answer by providing some additional context.  

Since many of you are staying home for the next little bit, here are a couple of Challenges that will exercise your ability to give context.  Here they are... Can you not just answer the question, but provide the context needed UNDERSTAND the answer? 

Here we go! Challenges about global information!   

1.  How many countries are there in the world?  

2. What's the smallest country?

3. How many languages are spoken in India?   

While these all seem like fairly straightforward Research Questions, I want to you think a bit about the context surrounding each of these.  What do you need to do to contextualize the RQ and the answer you give?  

Let us know HOW you found the answers, and what your thought process is WRT contextualization!  

Search on!  


  1. 1. How many countries are there in the world?

    [countries in the world]

    First answer: 195

    Members and non-member observer states of UN

    How Many Countries Are There in the World in 2019?

    Site mentions: Here are six of the most common answers, each correct in its own way.

    Answer: From 195 to 249

    2. What's the smallest country?

    Thought at first: The Vatican, and after reading previous site (6 different answers to # of countries) not so sure now.

    [smallest countries in the world]

    A list of the 10 smallest countries by total land area: 1st: The Vatican

    What is the smallest country in the world?

    The Vatican: Benito Mussolini and Pope Pius XI agreed to the Lateran Pacts on February 11, 1929, which created the independent state of Vatican City.

    By population: Pitcairn Islands.

    3. How many languages are spoken in India?

    [what languages are spoken in India]

    Wikipedia: "language" or "dialect"?

    2018: Census: More than 19,500 languages spoken in India as mother tongues

    1. Searched in English, without good results with [Different ways to count number of countries in the world] so, tried in Spanish with same query

      2019: ¿Cuántos países existen y por qué es tan difícil responder a esa pregunta?

      [cuantos paises hay en el mundo 2020]

      Number of countries 2020

      [countries in the world @simongerman600] on Twitter. He loves maps and data too, so thought he could give us more answers

      The answer is of course "depends".
      Comments mentions YouTube video and more recent data (Tweet was from 2017.) I already shared the 2019 data on previous comment

  2. …has this been cancelled yet? — as more schools shut down
    • Apr 15: invited talk at the University of Colorado, Boulder. (time & location TBD - didn't have my invite anyway…)

    for example:
    G'town, U-Va
    the day school
    The Hill
    "When Italy cancels Mass, you know that this is real, right? And that’s what they’ve done,” said Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University."

    fwiw -
    Chuck Darwin called, said there is little hope…
    offered this as context

    1. Yep... cancelled. Or at least delayed until next fall. Stay tuned.