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Research Packet

Research Packet

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Published by jerihurd

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Published by: jerihurd on Oct 05, 2010
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Believe it or not, a schoolresearch project is alot like life. Everyday, we’re facedwith choicesthat requireinformeddecisionmaking. Should Ibuy a newiPhone? Is anotherphone better? Is this newcomputer game really worth$100? Which college should Igo to? How can I convince myparents to give me my own car?Information helps us to analyzethe choices, draw conclusions,and make decisions. In the olddays, finding the information waspretty easy: You’d go to thelibrary, check which books andmagazines were available. Youmight ask your parents, orsomeone else who had reliableknowledge, but that’s about it.Today is a whole new world.You have not only books andmagazines, but also theWWW, databases,archives The webconsists of overeleven billion webpages—so you‘llhave to searchthrough a lot of garbage to find theinformation youneed. That’s whatinformation literacy and theresearch process are all about!Today’s information literatestudent consults as manydifferent, reliable sources as s/hecan find, asks questions, takesnotes, then develops an opinionbased on solid information.I
nformation literacy isn’t justknowing how to set up a Facebook page. It is knowing how to find,evaluate and use information frommany sources: books, newspapers,magazines, databases, videos, or theweb. It is a set of skills that youdevelop over time, a way of thinking about problem-solvingthat will work whether you wantto research the latest video game
So What Is This Information Literacy Stuff, Anyway?
Knowing whereto findinformation(and what do towith it once youfind it) is halfthe battle...
or the Middle Ages. Data from theBureau of Labor and Statisticsshows that, for the 21
Century,70% of jobs will require workers tofind information, evaluate its worthand use the information creatively.Thus, it grows increasinglyimportant for students to learn not just “library skills,” but informationmanagement.This packet will guide you not justthrough the steps to complete aresearch project, but also the skillsand behaviors for becominginformation literate. Let’s begin!
The Research Process
Like any multi-dimensional task,good research is a circular process,with different stages and tasks.Following this process will helpincrease the likelihood of not onlyfinding useful, relevant information,but of using it in meaningful ways.What are those stages?
Define Your Task/TopicDetermine your informationneedsAsk questions!Generate key wordsDetermine SourcesFIND INFORMATIONOrganize materialEvaluate sources/informationAnalyzeExtract relevant ideasFocus topic/researchquestionPUT IT ALL TOGETHERConnect ideasThink through dissentinginformationOrder ideasEvaluate progress
--do I need moreinformation?CREATE/EVALUATEComplete task  Judge product (is it effective?) Judge processwhat worked?what didn’t work?what would I do differently?So let’s explore each of these stages a bit more.
Let’s say your teacher givesyou an assignment. Your firststep is to decide what youneed to do in order tocomplete the task. Ask yourself these questions:
What is my final product?An essay? A poster? An oralpresentation? A documen-tary?
Does it have a requiredsize, length or time?
What is the topic? Do Ineed to focus it?Of course, if you’re workingon your MYP personalproject, you may not knowyet what you’re final productwill be. That’s o.k. As youresearch, ideas will come toyou.
70 % of jobs this centurywill require workers to find,evaluate and useinformation creatively.
U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics
Sometimes the teacher will give youa topic, sometimes you’ll come upwith your own ideas; in either case,you will always have to decide howto focus the topic and make it yourown. You want to ensure you have abroad enough subject to give youenough to write about, but narrowenough that you can discuss itthoroughly with your time/spaceallotmentOnce your topic is focused,consider your
The research question lies at theheart of any extensive researchproject; it guides everything you do,from finding information to writingyour thesis statementA research question is not the samething as your topic. For example,your topic might be the RussianRevolution. Your research questionis what you want to know about thetopic--it asks for analysis, and canoften have more than one answer. Agood research question forces youto take a stand, develop anargument and defend your position.Thus, “What were the effects of WWI on Russia?” Is not a goodresearch question. It may requireanalysis in that you have to figureout what the effects were, but thenall you have to do is list them.A better question would be: “If Nicholas II had not entered intoWW I, could he have avoided theRevolution?” Now you not onlyhave to analyze, you have to take aposition and defend your answer.You have to prove your point withreasoning and evidence.In the example in the box below, theweak question again only asks for alist. The second question, however,asks you to compare nutritionalinformation and menus, set criteriafor what makes a meal “healthy,measure your restaurant choicesagainst those criteria, make a finaldecision and defend your answer.
Once you have written atentative research question (andit may change as you startdigging), generate supportingquestions. Because a researchquestion is so broad, you willneed to come up
with other questions that allow youto find the information to answerthe original question.Obviously, you’ll need the factual-type questions as you begin toexplore your topic: who, whatwhen, where, etc. It’s important tomove beyond these once you havethe background information,however.
Telling Questions:
These questions move past thebroad range of your researchquestion to zero in on importantinformation. With our restaurantquestion above, you might ask “What percentage of menu itemscontain over 25% fat, and which
Answeringrequires you to prove your pointand provide evidence, not justanswer yes or no.
There is more thanone side to the issue. You couldargue either yes or no, and stillhave good points to make.
The question is broadenough to give you plenty towrite about, but narrow enoughthat you can discuss the topicthoroughly in your allotted space.
You can findenough good, authoritative
TOPIC 1: Nutrition.Weak Research Question: What makes a nutritious meal?Better Research Question: Which fast food restaurant serves the healthiestoptions?Topic 2: Russian RevolutionWeak Research Question: What were the causes of the RussianRevolution?Better Research Question: If Nicholas II had stayed
out of
WWI, couldhave avoided the Russian Revolution?

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