The Missouri Reader Vol. 41, Issue 1 - Page 16

questions that you can have buddies select a few to investigate in a presearch. Model how to think about a topic. White’s study (2014) showed that presearch beliefs “affect search behavior and strongly held beliefs are difficult to shift” (p. 2175). So, cautioning students to not just seek answers they think they already have is critical to a strong search. Suggest students use the following viewpoints as they pose questions about their topic:

o What do I think I know about _____?

o What do I think I know but might need to research about _______?

o Where can I find information about ______?

2) Ask students to help you list possible resources to review for their research. This is a good time to involve the school librarian who can select books, videos, and websites related to the model topic and questions the students will explore under your guidance. Showing them how to find such resources is key to developing independence. Have buddies work together to skim read suggested resources to decide if each will be useful for collecting information. Model how, during the presearch, we skim read the Preface, scan the Table of Contents, and browse the Index. Show how to read headings, subheadings, graphics such as tables or maps, and to look for bolded words. Afterwords, ask them to share what they found during the presearch. What resources did they find useful? What questions did they answer? What new questions do they have? Did they find enough information? Might they need to broaden or narrow the topic? What keywords would help in a focused research?

Step 3: Research. By completing the presearch phase, we reduce frustration for our students and help them focus in on exactly what, how, and where to research. Practicing research skills together scaffolds students’ ability to work later, on their own. Which resources explored during the presearch will be useful? Do we need more? We are now ready to focus in on our research. Important strategies to cover are (1) practicing exploration of resources, (2) notetaking, and (3) summarizing.

1) Allow students practice time to investigate resources that were used in the presearch. Books, documentaries, interviews, and webpages were all possible resources. Do they need more materials to answer their questions? How can they find more resources to expand their search? Be certain students know where and how to look for the resources they practiced with under your guidance.

2) Notetaking when reading books, watching videos, or viewing webpages is important for recording information. Using projected images of text, model how to read a passage, then decide what to highlight. This shows the selectiveness of focusing on important information, so that our notes do not becoming overwhelming. A two-column note page can assist in recording the information. On the left-hand column write the questions posed about the topic. On the right side record phrases and key words that answer the questions. Be sure to show students how to cite direct quotes (and how to record the reference information). This is also a good time to practice interviewing. Sometimes a topic will best be explored by talking to an expert and knowing how to conduct an interview is essential. The four-square method provides practice with interview notetaking. Students learn to write questions, record answers, and write refocused questions. Have students fold large paper in half and then in half again to create four boxes separated by creases. Ask them to label the boxes, as pictured in Figure 1.


Resourceful Research



Figure 1: Interview notetaking