When students begin a research project, they often know very little about their topic. They don’t know what they don’t know, which can leave them searching aimlessly for content and making poor use of their time. To create an effective research plan, students should begin by gaining some general knowledge about the topic that they are planning to research. This base of knowledge can help them generate more informed ideas about their research. It will also help them develop a stronger hypothesis or thesis statement. There are a number of strategies that can be effective when building this plan.
Gaining Background Knowledge
Identify and Locate Potential Resources
- Review project requirements.
- Review research tools and options.
- Make a research plan that aligns to requirements and best options.
- Consider how final outcomes will be communicated.
It can be helpful to break these tasks into separate steps, especially for younger learners. You might consider modeling a sample topic in front of the class and asking students for their input along the way. Then, you can turn the process over to them to practice in groups or apply individually. It can also be helpful to provide a graphic organizer or guide sheet to keep them on track. Be sure to check in on their progress and conference with them as time allows. These face-to-face conversations can be rich ways to reinforce learning and head off any misunderstandings.
How can I learn more?
For more information about this topic, explore the AVID Open Access article, Note the Possibilities for Inquiry Learning: Step 2 of the Searching for ANSWERS Inquiry Process.