UPPER SCHOOL RESEARCH STEPS
1. Do I have a required topic or specific question to explore? What questions would I personally like to explore about this topic?
2. How might I narrow a broad topic or question? How do I identify key words of my topic or question?
3. What kind of final product is expected: a formal report, a research paper, an argumentative essay, a PowerPoint, a presentation to the class? Do I have a variety of creative options?
4. What is the general objective of the assignment: to report, to persuade, to analyze?
1. Has the teacher suggested or required certain kinds of sources?
- The class text
- Specific web sites listed in a web quest
- ESD databases located on the Gill Library web page
- Specialized reference books
- EBooks located on the Gill Library web page
- Maps, photographs, tables, or other visuals
- Online interviews, email interviews, or personal interviews
- Primary sources such as literature, speeches, letters, historical documents
- A combination of books, periodicals, and online materials
1. Are my key words (search terms) useful in locating information? Do I need to develop a list of other key words in order to locate the information I need?
4. Am I keeping a working bibliography of sources that I am likely to use for this project?
5. Have I looked carefully and widely for the best sources?
1. Have I skimmed the source to determine if it contains useful information?
- Does the information in a source seem too simplistic, technical, over-generalized, or opinionated?
- Does the source contain specific evidence or expert opinions?
- Is the information in-depth or scholarly enough for my purposes?
2. If the information does appear to be useful, which parts should be quoted directly and which parts should be paraphrased?
3. What is my teacher’s preferred method for recording the information?
- Note cards
- Highlighting and tagging passages in a text
- Noodle Tools
4. Where do I record the original ideas and conclusions that occur to me as I do my research?
5. What tags or subtopic headings can I use to organize this information? Can these topics become the basis of a preliminary outline?
6. Have I recorded the source of each bit of information so that I can give credit in my final product and avoid plagiarism?
7. Have I recorded my sources correctly?
8. In reviewing my notes, do I find that I have enough information to answer my initial research question? If not, where should I look for more information?
9. In reviewing my notes, do I find that I have too much information to answer my initial research question? If so, does my topic require further narrowing?
1. As I begin to organize my notes, how much time will I need to devote to the creation of my final product? Do I need to create a calendar to plan my time and highlight my due dates?
2. As I organize my notes, do I find that any subtopic category requires more research?
3. As I review my notes, do I find that I need to revise my thesis before starting to create my final product? How do I write an effective thesis?
4. How can I use my notes to create an outline that supports my thesis?
5. As I review my outline, do I find that I need additional research to support my thesis?
6. Do I need to revise my thesis again or reorganize my outline?
7. How do I compose an effective introduction for my final product?
8. How do I develop my ideas in the body of my final product?
9. How do I incorporate my own ideas?
10. How do I blend quotations and outside research into the final product?
11. How do I compose an effective conclusion for my final product?
12. How do I document the sources of that information within the product? Are my citations complete and correct? Have I provided a citation for all borrowed material (both quoted and paraphrased)?
- MLA citations
- Chicago style citations
- APA citations
13. Does my bibliography or “works cited” page accurately represent the citations in the body of my project? Have a used correct format?
14. Have I touched-base with my teacher or my peers to ask for help, if needed?
2. Can I answer “yes” to all of the questions in the grading rubric?
3. Have I reread my paper for content, correctness, and clarity?
4. Have I learned something new about my topic?
5. Have I learned something about the research and writing process?
6. Have I created a product that can contribute to a research community?
7. Have I learned something about the world in which I live?