Where do I Start? Middle School Research Process

Jump Start Ideas

Research Process

1. Task/Topic/Issue Definition

Define your assignment and identify the information needed to complete it.
Restate the assignment in your own words. What are you interested in learning?
Gather basic information about your topic by reading articles, web pages, etc.
Talking with teachers/parents/librarians is also helpful.

2. Information Seeking Strategies

Make a list of all possible sources & select the best ones.
Choose from nonfiction, news articles, reference books, web pages, databases, ebooks, and multimedia encyclopedias.

3. Location and Access

Locate sources & find information within the texts.
Consult the library catalog, Prescott Library main page, search engines, and web-based references
You may use a graphic organizer to map out your topic and subtopics

4. Use of Information

Engage with your source: read, hear, view and extract the most valuable information
Use skimming and scanning to find information that addresses your topic.
Look for keywords, pictures, read the headlines and the first and last paragraphs of articles to help find the “right” information.
Take notes – cite your source 
Summarize, paraphrase or direct quote.
Remember to cite each source you use. We recommend Noodletools.

5. Synthesis

Choose the format of your project and organize your research notes according to how you will share the information.
If your format is a paper, begin by writing an outline.
If you are producing a PowerPoint or multi-media presentation, categorize your main bullet points and images. Different formats require different types of organizations.
Present the information effectively by practicing and knowing your audience.

6. Evaluation

Judge the product (effectiveness). 
Judge the process (efficiency).
Did you meet your objective?
Judge the quality of your work.
Next, judge the quality of your presentation.
You can use criteria such as accuracy, content, creativity, and legibility.

Big6 Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz.