I. Define the need for information
- Define broad topic area in one of the following ways
- Have students select an area on their own by
- developing an area of interest - freewriting, concept
- distinguishing researchable topics
- determining if enough resources are available
- determining if the subject is manageable for them
- judging if the subject can be thoughtfully researched
- assessing whether the student emotional about the topic
(ex. death, love, religion)
- categorizing aspects of the subject into knowledge,
- determine what the student already knows about topic
- Provide list of topics to choose from
- Assign topic
- Get overview of broad topic
- list / diagram what one already knows about the topic
- explain concept of overview (broad picture or summary)
- begin list of subject headings (look for broader terms,
related terms, narrower terms; use Venn diagrams)
- locate best overview
- magazines - current topics
- use index
- use multiple sources - read table of contents and headings
- jot down ideas and questions
- start a working bibliography
- identify central issues
- overview could be provided by teacher
- Narrow the topic
- distinguish broad from narrow topics
- develop narrow topics from broad
- relate topic choice to length of assignment
- understand ways of narrowing a topic
- to a problem or question
- topically (further cluster)
- reflect on "Is my topic a good one?"
- Am I interested?
- Can I convey sound understanding and details in the space
- Will there be enough information?
- Will the information be difficulty to use?
- Is it too broad? narrow? subjective? unfamiliar?
- State purpose or point to be argued
- understand concept of thesis or statement of purpose
- need to go beyond simple fact-finding
- may need guidance in this in elementary school - often
specific wording suggestions
- thesis = overall goal, controlling idea; statement of main
idea to be supported by evidence; provides topic sentence
- statement of purpose, "I intend to..." (less
formal, easier to write, may be more appropriate for younger
- reflect on
- Does statement focus work?
- Is statement of main idea supported by evidence or just a
fact? personal opinion? self-evident statement of the truth?
- Does it fit the level of research required?
II. Develop Information Seeking Strategies
- Formulate questions to guide research
- Write appropriate to level of research (teachers may provide
for young students)
The use of the KWL strategy may be useful with younger students
at this stage.
- basic info. needed by reader - overview, stats,
- details needed to understand issues fully - background,
- projections made from info. - effects, solutions,
- hypotheses (at higher level)
- comparison / analogy
- Refection on process
- Do questions go beyond simple factual ones?
- Are they at the correct level of research?
- Do they cover all aspects of question?
- Any unnecessary ones?
- Determine type of information needed for each question
- Determine possible sources & prioritize sources
III. Locate and Access Information Resources
- Need general understanding of
- organization of information
- classification purpose
- indexing by author, title, subject
- hierarchy of subject headings
- broader, narrower, related terms
- combining terms in computerized search
- keyword searching
- full text searching
- library catalog
- specific searching techniques (ex. divided card catalog,
identifiers in searching (TI,AU,S,K)
- accessing other catalogs
- indexes and abstracts
- periodical, newspaper, SIRS, CD-ROM & online
- selecting index
- understanding citation
- subject reference tools (print and electronic)
- nonfiction books
- table of contents, index, glossary, appendices
- location or books on a subject, subject headings used
- Internet search engines and directories
- other sources such as experiments, interviews, surveys, etc.
- importance of browsing
- Expand list of subject headings / keywords
- cross references
- Sears list of subject headings
- names dates, places
- Use classification scheme of the libraries
- Analyze each source
- arrangement (alph., topical, chronological, comparative,)
- use of indexes, cross references
- depth of treatment (length)
- special features (illus, glossary, charts, graphs, tables,
- Evaluate reliability of each source
- writer qualifications
- publisher reputation
- accuracy (date, comparison to other sources)
- point of view (political or social)
IV.Evaluate and Select Information in a Variety
- Focus on main idea of research question
- Locate relevant information in source
- table of contents, index, contextual clues (headings,
subtitles, boxed information, illus, color), directories
- skim, scan
- Analyze information to determine if it answers research questions
- Does it further my understanding?
- Is my information complete?
- Watch for redundancy and look for relationships
- Evaluate information
- librarian or teacher may provide criteria for young students
- judge accuracy of facts by comparing sources
- recognize fact & opinion
- use of footnotes, bibliography
can use editorials or letters to the editor to teach this
judging web resources
distinguish bias from reason
recognize fallacies in arguments & reasoning (in high
|subjunctive verbs (could might)
|verbs expressing opinion (believe, think, assume)
|qualifiers (maybe, almost, supposed)
|hypothetical situations (if...)
|predictions (will, ought to)
|adjective qualifiers (fine, unnecessary)
|value terms (best)|
teach with use of tv & magazine advertising
- proof by selected instances (e.g.,. parole abolishment)
- unstated assumptions (e.g., raise driving age based on
assumption of driving record of youth)
- deceptive arguments
- unwarranted analogy (e.g., schools=business)
- either / or statement when there are alternatives
- oversimplification (e.g., depression is caused by
- appeal to authority / tradition
V. Record and Organize Information
- Avoid plagiarism
- citation - exact copying of facts or stats
- summary - main ideas of long section stated briefly
- paraphrase - smaller section of text in own words
- quotation (1-2 sentences)
- Notetaking techniques
- match to question
- indicate source
- do not copy
- write own reactions to notes (question, generalizing,
comparing, patterning, evaluating, inferring, concluding, predicting,
- Correct bibliographic form
- Enough info?
- In my own words?
- Complete notes?
- Each note keyed to question?
- Each note with credit?
- Organize information - find or draw conclusions based on evidence
- review research questions / thesis
- go over notes looking for evidence & reactions
- find major problems, issues, questions
- how are ideas related?
- similarities & differences
- cause / effect
- part / whole
- change over time
VI. Interpreting the Information
- Synthesize new ideas, evidence and prior knowledge
- Identify reasonable conclusions (convergent thinking)
- Test with evidence
- Choose best conclusions
- match level of research (e.g., by evaluating / deliberating
level - draw own conclusions)
- develop an outline
- consider order of making points to best support argument
Teacher or peer review to refine
|webs, charts, diagrams|
|are conclusions supported by research?
|do conclusions support thesis?
|are parts arranged in logical sequence?|
VII. Communicating the Information
- Select format appropriate for purpose and audience
- Prewrite or preview (visualize final product)
- reread notes
- study outline
- thesis statement
- freewrite using outline, not notes
- create visual image or layout
- Review and edit
- peer / teacher feedback
- Main idea communicated?
- Evidence appropriate, accurate, clear, thorough?
- Evidence in proper order?
- Are all parts effective?
- Are intro., conclusions & transitions effective?
VIII. Evaluating the Product and Process
- How well did I do in meeting my information need?
- What could or should I have done differently?
- How can I do better in the future?
More Online Resources for the Research Process
[ Top ]