When we are interested in something, we often find we have questions or things we wonder about concerning this topic.
We normally want to find out the answers.
We find out the answer by researching whatever we are interested in.
Researching means to find out more about something.
There are several steps you can follow when researching something.
Step 1. Planning the research or learning
- Observing (Use your five senses to gather information)
- Formulating questions (KWHL chart – Pages)
- Planning how you are going find things out (KWHL Chart)
How is your Higher-Order question asking skills? – what types of questions are you asking?
Step 2. Gathering information from various places
Unless you are incredible lucky, chances are that you are not going to find your answer all in one convenient place. So you have to look in various places for your information. You should take notes of what you find, and then decide later which bits you are going to use.
This would be a good time to remember how to use your Four different types of reading skills, and how to use a contents page.
- Knowing the difference between a good source of information, and a not so good one
- Locating the resources
- Deciding the best places to find out information (Books, maps, surveys, observation, people, film, Internet, museums, experts, films, etc…)
Step 3. Using the information
Chances are that the information you have collected is written in scribbly scrubbly writing, and probably looks like a first draft of any of your stories. That’s OK! BUT… make sure you can read it, and that it is logically organized!
- Making sure that the information you have collected is recorded in a way that is clear and easy to understand
- Choosing the best way to record data or information (drawing, note taking, charts, tallying, writing statements, etc…)
Step 4. Organizing the information for viewing
Now you have a lot of information before you. Which bits of it will help you (and others) understand the answer to your question best?
- Sorting out the really important bits of information from the interesting bits that do not help to answer your original questions.
- Editing and publishing your chosen final pieces of research
Step 5. Creating and sharing your findings
The funnest part! Decide how you want your end product to look like, and begin to design the final version of all your hard work.
- Presenting research findings (Presentations, posters, Keynotes, movies, written pieces, drawings, recordings of interviews, etc…) – are your findings easily read and accessible?
- Interpreting your findings – what could somebody else learn from your findings?
Step 6. Reflecting
This is one of the most important parts of research.
- Did you answer your questions?
- New questions that have come up during your research – what will you do with these now? These questions are what drive your inquiry forward and in other interesting directions!
- What did you learn about researching while you were actually researching?
- How would you rate your own performance during this research? (leadership skills, being a team member, accepting responsibility, finishing your part of the work, etc…)
- If you were working as part of a group, how did you all work together?
- What could you do better next time? (There will be a next time!)
- OK! Back to Step 1!
Research is a cycle…the end is only the beginning!
If you are lucky, this cycle never stops.