Why create a project about research?
You just got your driver’s license. Your dad said he’d help you pay for a car of your own. Now the task is to decide what you want. Is what you want what you can afford? Is a lower-priced car going to be maintenance free? The best way to find out is to research the topic. First, you’ll gather information. Then you’ll read it make sure you have a clear understanding of that information and are not being conned. Then, based on that information, you’ll pick the car of your dreams. Research is a key element in making good decisions. Those decisions can be minor, such as deciding what you want to eat for breakfast, or they can be as important as purchasing a car. They might even be vital, such as selecting a hospital if you are sick.
In each case, the process that you use mimics this research project. First students find information about the topic. They can search the Web for the information that is needed. They then make sure that they have an understanding of what they have found and that the source is accurate. Finally, they make decisions based upon what they have learned.
Research is the tool that helps us to make informed decisions. This projects helps students in grades 7-12 learn the structure for creating a research project, from finding information to the creation of a presentation using information they have made their own.
What standards are used?
Reading and writing standards say that a student must be ready for college and for the workforce. To be ready, the Common Core Standards state that “students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize and report on information and ideas, to conduct original research in order to solve problems.” (Common Core State Standards for English, Language Arts and Literacy: Research and media skills blended into the Standards as a whole, p. 4.) Those tasks are exactly what is provided in projectRESEARCH: Consider the Source.
What does research show about students’ ability to use research?
Research was done through the Education Testing Service using ICT (Information and Communication Technology Literacy Assessment). More than 6,000 students took this test, which produced these preliminary research findings: “Only 52 percent of test takers could correctly judge the objectivity of a Web site and only 65 percent could correctly judge the site’s authoritativeness. In a Web search task, only 40 percent entered multiple search terms to narrow the results. And when selecting a research statement for a class assignment, only 44 percent identified a statement that captured the demands of the assignment.” Source: http://www.ets.org/ictliteracy/prelimfindgings.html
What does this project include?
ProjectRESEARCH: Consider the Source includes six videos: three student videos and three professional development videos. Also included is this teacher guide, which can be found online at http://westernreservepublicmedia.org/research. Supplemental materials also are available at this site.
Video 1: Finding Information
Knowing search language
Tips for good searching
- Finding information
Video 2: Understanding Information
They did their research, they found a site and it’s on the topic. This video helps students understand the information they find and focus their ideas, both old and new, into a manageable topic. Topics covered in this video include the following:
Video 3: Making Information Your Own
Presentation of the information found is a critical factor, and students need to understand their audience. This video helps the student understand the different types of presentations that could be made. Below are the topics covered in this video:
Types of presentations
Acting as a reporter
Doing a project
Video 4: Finding Information
This video offers steps for helping students to find the information and check its validity.
Video 5: Understanding Information
This video offers activities for helping students understand the information that they have researched.
Video 6: Making Information Your Own
This video helps the teacher to understand the different ways that students are doing research today. The research project is discussed.