Conducting Research - Teach with Tech

Conducting research is an inquiry-based process that involves identifying a question, gathering information, analyzing and evaluating evidence, drawing conclusions, and sharing the knowledge gained. The ability to conduct research is a critical skill students need to be college and career ready. To support struggling students, who may face difficulties in carrying out this process, teachers can use a range of technology tools to personalize instruction.

Step 1: Provide Direct Instruction

  1. Explain that the research process is an iterative, inquiry-based process that involves selecting a topic to explore, gathering information, analyzing the information, and sharing what is learned.
  2. Explicitly show students how to appropriately select and use digital tools to gather, organize, and analyze information.
    Examples of Digital Research Tools
  3. Demonstrate different ways to share research results (e.g., written report, multimedia presentation, podcast, website, and visual display).  
View evidence behind this recommendation

IES Recommendations

Provide direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction.

Evidence:
Strong

Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving Adolescent Literacy: Effective Classroom and Intervention Practices

Step 2: Help Students Conduct Research For a Variety Of Purposes

  1. Guide students through a process that allows them to begin by broadly exploring varied topics, selecting an area of focus, and then identifying a specific research question.
  2. Help students assess the validity of online sources based on their purpose and topic of research.
  3. Based on the focus of their research, help students use appropriate technology-supported information gathering strategies.
    Tools to Support Information Gathering Strategies
View evidence behind this recommendation

IES Recommendations

Help Students Conduct Research for a Variety of Purposes

Evidence:
Strong

Source: IES Practice Guide: Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers

Providing opportunities for extended discussion of text meaning and interpretation (In effective discussions students have the opportunity to have sustained exchanges with the teacher or other students, present and defend individual interpretations and points of view, use text content, background knowledge, and reasoning to support interpretations and conclusions, and listen to the points of view and reasoned arguments of others participating in the discussion.)

Evidence:
Moderate

Source: IES Practice Guide: Teaching Elementary School Students to Be Effective Writers

Step 3: Engage Students in Ongoing Assessment

  1. Have students elicit peer feedback to evaluate each phase of the research process.
    Strategies for Peer Feedback on the Research Process
    • Have peers ask each other prompting questions in order to refine research questions.
    • Have students share their plans for gathering research, then request suggestions from peers on additional methods.
    • In small groups, have students describe their information gathering strategies and invite suggestions for additional strategies.
    • Have students help each other select effective methods and technology tools for presenting findings.
  2. Assess whether students are using effective strategies to critically evaluate online information.
  3. Have students write or record short summaries of what they are learning using blogs, mini-podcasts, the class wiki, or websites.
View evidence behind this recommendation

IES Recommendations

Assist students in monitoring and reflecting on the problem-solving process

Evidence:
Strong

Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8

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