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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Retooling Research

This week I am away on an offline vacation. Rather than let the blog be dormant or rerunning old posts I decided to give some other people a chance to share their experiences and ideas with you. I hope you enjoy the posts.



Do you or your students cringe at the thought of research? Why not try some of these tools to help you update and revitalize the research process for both you and your students?



Planning
A journey well begun is half done.” Anonymous

Infohoio was created to assist Ohio educators and students with the research process. The Ask, Act, Achieve page offers many links which will assist  students as they plan and organize their research.

Assignment Calculator was created by the University of Minnesota. Students enter their project’s due date and are given a dated, detailed plan of action for each step of the research process. Teachers might also want to use the Assignment Calculator to set checkpoints along the research path.



Locating and Accessing Information
A well-constructed search yields the best results.  Can your students choose the appropriate keywords and phrases to ensure success? Do they believe everything they read on the Internet, or do they know how to evaluate sources?

Google Search Education offers a set of lesson plans designed to meet students at their level of need (beginner, intermediate, and advanced).  You’ll find lesson plans aligned with Common Core State Standards on picking the right search terms, understanding search results, narrowing a search to get the best results, searching for evidence for research tasks, and evaluating the credibility of sources.

Evaluation Wizard The 21st Century Information Fluency website offers a free evaluation wizard.  Students insert a website’s url and then are taken through the steps to determine the site’s accuracy and reliability.



Gathering Information: Taking Notes
My students have more trouble with the notetaking portion of research than any other step in the process.  Without good notes, students can’t hope to compose an excellent paper.

Zotero: this invaluable tool assists students in doing online research. Students will love the iTunes-like format where they capture each site’s bibliographic information, take notes, and add tags, simplifying their online research.



Notetaking templates Do students need assistance to determine what information to collect as they take notes?



Pulling It All Together:  Synthesis
The hardest work is behind you!  if you took excellent notes, then this step of your research project will practically organize itself.  (Teachers, see this Libguide from John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois, for suggestions on notetaking formats and organization.)



Essay Map this interactive tool from readwritethink.org walks students through the steps of preparing their final paper.



Free Online Plagiarism Detector Once students have a rough draft, they can copy and paste it into the space provided on this site.  Students will be given feedback (on online sources only) to help them identify areas in their paper that must be edited to avoid plagiarism.

Bio: Fran taught English at both the junior high and high school levels for 29 years before becoming the lead librarian at Boiling Springs High School in Boiling Springs, South Carolina.  She is passionate about reading and using technology to enhance instruction.


Fran taught English at both the junior high and high school levels for 29 years before becoming the lead librarian at Boiling Springs High School in Boiling Springs, South Carolina.  She is passionate about reading and using technology to enhance instruction.


Connect with me:  fran.bullington@gmail.com
Informania blog: http://informania.wordpress.com
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/FranBullington