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Research 101: Ready, Set, Research! Common Core Research in the Secondary Classroom

The Importance of Teaching a Structured Research Process

Research Skills Digital Interactive Notebook

There's no debate! Common Core State learning Standards emphasize that our students should be able to conduct effective research - including but not limited to, engaging in frequent short and sustained research assignments, extracting relevant details, analyzing and comprehending varied text types, evaluating sources for accuracy and relevancy, and synthesizing information from multiple sources.

This may seem like a daunting task for educators!  In my former experience as a High School English teacher and, now, as a Secondary School Media Specialist, I have discovered the key to student success in conducting research effectively is in providing them with structure throughout the research process.  From Special Education students to AP/Honors, they all need guidance in selecting a topic, generating a list of research inquiries or questions, selecting appropriate resources, taking notes vs. copying, and putting their researched information together cohesively from multiple sources.

Many may think that today's generation of digital learners are very lucky, and the research process is so much easier for them than it was when we were students.  They have everything they need to complete virtually any research assignment from their living room couches!  Just use the Internet!  Right?  Wrong!

I believe our information overload and the Internet's enabling students with easy access to info have actually made it more difficult for today's students achieve the research standards outlined in Common Core. Students are accustomed to finding everything they need online.  Frequently, they only need one Internet site to locate enough information to turn in - just copy and paste it, and they're done!  This is NOT the research process!

We had to use multiple sources and synthesize information when we were students.  There was no Internet!  There were books and magazines/journals!  Microfiche!  Oy Vey!   Copy and paste?  What was that?  We had note cards.  You HAD to extract details.  You couldn't copy an entire source by hand!

Looking at research from this angle sheds some light as to the challenges that lie ahead for teachers in guiding our students in taking notes, using more than one source, etc.  The only way to accomplish this is by designing research assignments that require multiple sources and the assessment/end product makes plagiarizing from one online source impossible.  More of this to come!

I am in the process of uploading some of my tested, tried, and true research resources and materials to my TPT store.  Check them out when you have time!  The materials will provide your students with the background knowledge needed to conduct effective electronic searches, evaluate digital texts, and by providing your students with structure during the note-taking process through questions and prompts.

Additional materials I have recently created for teaching research in the secondary classroom include the following:

Evaluating Source Credibility Using CARS

Teaching Effective Research Skills and the Research Process

Research  Skills Task Cards for Google Classroom

Evaluating Sources and Source Citation

You can download for free this research resource!  Evaluate and Cite teaches students to analyze digital resources and to evaluate them for author's purpose and possible bias.  

The materials include graphic organizers, a lesson on evaluating websites for bias, teacher's notes, and more!

Evaluate and Cite:  Resources for Student Researchers


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