How Do I Research?


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An introduction to doing academic research for middle schoolers

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  • 1. 5 minute free write on "What is research? How have I researched in the past? Why do we research?"
  • 1. A clear, specific goal will make your life so much easier. 2. We accomplish our research goal by answering questions. So, what are your questions? Make a list and look at it often. 3. Who will read our research effects our researching decision. If our audience was kindergarteners, then "elucidating the finer points of aquifer corruption" would not be very useful. Instead we would need to tell them about "water pollution". 4. You already know SOMETHING about your topic, otherwise you'd be unable to ask the question. List what you know and let that help your research. 5. Plan your time! There is a deadline, and making a plan will make research much more effective. 
  • 1. Find reliable material 2. Interact with that material 3. Share the results
  • 1. There is an incredible abundance of research available. Ask for a possible research question. Type into Google and point out how many results there are.2. You need a  question first or your starting pool is too large. Take the students question, then just type in the topic and the hits should multiply.3. You will think of new questions. Don't get distracted by them. Finish researching your current question, but make sure you write down the new question so you can research it later.4. Use some sort of system to physically record your research process5. Find, filter, focus
  • 1. Go beyond Google. Where can you look?2. Select your sources, scrap the rest.
  • 1. Are your sources reliable? Are they appropriate for your audience?2.  Look at your research questions again. Will your sources help you answer those questions?3. Every resource you eliminate makes your job easier.
  • 1. Keep revisiting your question to keep your mind focused on your subject.2. Every piece of evidence you find MUST be related to your research question. Otherwise it is worse than useless, it is harmful because it will distract your audience.3. Did you think of another question? Add it to your list. You WILL forget it otherwise.4. Do yourself a favor and record the citation information (Name, publisher, author, date)
  • 1. Define research by discussing "search" and "re". The point is, there is a lot of searching.
  • 1. Sources are often dense and difficult to understand, even for adult native speakers.2. You probably do not understand the material on your first effort. Read and reread. Search and research.3. If you can not explain it to a friend, you can not write about it.4. Teachers get paid A LOT of money to help students. Ask questions!
  • 1. The patterns (Consensus, disagreement) will answer your questions. You have to identify the bigger picture. 2. What is the main point? Can you condense your source into a single sentence?3. Start grouping your resources according to the questions they help answer.4. Look at the groups. What do they say? After you identify the point of the individual resources, what is the point of the resources as a whole?5. Look at your conclusions again. Are you really right? It is to be expected that you will make mistakes. Errors are just a part of research.6. You create your own material from other people's. It is after a long process of synthesis and analysis that other's ideas become your own, and you earn the right to put your name on the paper. 
  • 1. The internet is full of useful and useless information.2. Books are more difficult to access then the internet, but it is easier to maintain focus with them.3. Videos are often filled with flash and not much content. They might waste your time.4. People are a great resource, but if you are not talking to an expert in their field, then you need to speak to 1000s to gain a usable conclusion.
  • 1. Write it up, print it out. Get something physical to look at.2. Let others look at it. This is your only chance to get an idea of how your paper will be received.3. Does it make sense? This is pretty much the most important question.4. Can your reader understand it without doing all the research you did?5. Can your reader identify the central question and the answer?6. Is it your own? 7. Once you finish, stop criticizing! Just be happy you finished and brag to all your friends about how smart you are.
  • How Do I Research?

    1. 1. How Do I Research?Adopted from Sharon Bedes PPT "How to do effectiveresearch"
    2. 2. BeforeWe Begin• What is your research goal?• What questions need answering?• Who is your audience?• What do you already know?• How will you plan your time?
    3. 3. We will learn how to:• access information.• perform research.• communicate our findings.
    4. 4. Finding and SortingInformation• Too much information.• Use a source AFTER you have a question.• Help yourself:Write down new questions and researchthem later.• Outlines, mind maps, lists, etc.• FFF
    5. 5. Finding and SortingInformation• What resources are available?• Choose your sources.FindFF
    6. 6. Finding and SortingInformation • Is the resource appropriate?• Will it help answer your question?• If the answer is no to either question, abandon theresource.FFilterF
    7. 7. Finding and SortingInformation• Keep asking your research question.• Only use information DIRECTLY related to yourquestion.• Add new questions if you think it is wise.• Record citation information.FFFocus
    8. 8. Do ResearchWhat does "research" mean?
    9. 9. Doing Research• Research resources are often complicated• Do you understand the source?• Try explaining it to a friend.• Ask for help.Check for understanding
    10. 10. Doing Research• Look for connections or patterns between yourresources.• What does the research tell us? Can you summarize themain point?• Rearrange your source material according to yourconclusions.• Evaluate.• Are your conclusions correct? Review your sources andnotes.• Make it your own.Interpret and organize
    11. 11. Doing ResearchMethods• Internet• Books• Videos• PeopleProblems• Reliability• Access• Usefulness• Sample size
    12. 12. Sharing• Write a close-to-final draft.• Peer review• Is it coherent?• Does it rely on background knowledge?• Does it have a clear question and conclusion?• Does it effectively expressYOUR ideas?• Print it and relax!