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Last Updated: May 11, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Students have difficulty with research when they: 

- Don't understand the difference between conducting research and merely compiling a report of information (either lacks a provable thesis or is just a re-organization of information and other people's conclusions found in sources)

Don't do enough reading to understand the scope and the differing perspectives on their topic

Have pre-determined a conclusion without learning enough to support this idea / thesis with evidence

- Rely too much on one type of source (remember, you want a balance of primary & secondary sources and source types - books, interviews, websites, journal articles, etc.)


Stripling Inquiry/Research Model


Inquiry is an iterative process; each phase you go through may (and should) cause you to rethink your research questions and your own ideas. The Stripling Model (2003) focuses on the thinking that happens when doing research. 


Connect your topic to yourself and your previous knowledge

Gain background & Context for your topic

Observe / experience the topic


Develop questions

Make predictions or hypotheses


Find & evaluate information to answer questions and/or test hypotheses

Think about (reflect on) information to illuminate new questions/ideas/hypotheses


Build new understandings connected to previous knowledge

Draw conclusions about questions and hypotheses


Apply understandings to a new context or situation

Express new ideas in order to share learning with others


Reflect on your own learning

Ask new questions




Why do we do research?

Research is not just something we do at school; it's a part of everyday life.  Sure, you usually aren't making presentations or writing papers for the questions you explore in your personal life; yet, the skills are the same.  Here's why this is so important: research skills help you make decisions! You're smart. You know not to take the first "answer" Google gives you. You know that there's always more to the story. You know that sometimes people around you are the best source for information while other times you need to read what the experts are saying. We "do" research in school to help you learn how to construct your own ideas and conclusions by gathering the best info out there.

Here are the learning outcomes teachers and professors work to achieve through inquiry/research:

  1. Value of performing research (identify differences between reporting and research/inquiry; research paper is an inquiry and writing process dependent on knowledge construction, NOT the mere gathering of ideas.)

  2. Value of the Presearch process (determining the viability of the topic for research; reading is critical to this determination)

  3. Critical importance of Questioning (continual, iterative questioning, based upon what is read and learner reflection on this information.  Questioning is the structural framework for inquiry- it guides the gathering of information/data.)

  4. Information / evidence seeking (skilled use of search tools and apps to gather information)

  5. Evaluation of information/data (Credibility [authoritative source], validity [lack of bias], reliability [facts confirmed by other sources], and relevance [to questions asked]. How does the information help answer the questions? What new questions arise?)

  6. Critical importance of Nonfiction Reading (ability to use books as inquiry tools, focus reading to salient passages, and identify keywords and key individuals related to topic) 

  7. Synthesis (ability to develop new ideas and reach conclusions based upon combination of gathered information)

  8. Analysis (ability to develop new ideas and reach conclusions based upon comparison, contrast, examination and identification of components of gathered information)

  9. Visualizing (ability to imagine, describe, and manifest the relationships between information concepts; evidenced with outlines, concept maps)

  10. Argumentation (the ability to craft a strong thesis and support it with evidence)

  11. Documentation (providing evidence through skilled paraphrasing and quoting using internal citations to sources)

  12. Presentation: Clear Writing (making new knowledge and learning evident through skilled expression of ideas in well-structured paragraphs containing appropriate vocabulary) Clear Speaking (making new knowledge and learning evident through skilled oral expression of ideas) Clear Digital Storytelling (making new knowledge and learning evident through skilled expression of ideas in a digital visual and audio format)


    Metacognition: (the ability to think about thinking; regulating your own learning, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, keeping yourself on track with a learning project) 

    Beyond all of these reasons... Lifelong Learning...Watch:


    Brenda Boyer 


Research is all about Questions



         Question Everything!

  The quality of your  questions affects the quality of:

  • the searching you do
  • the information you'll find, &
  • the knowledge you construct



Know the difference between reporting and research:

Reporting = collecting info, organizing it, and presenting it. This is lower-level work; that is, it does not demand higher forms of thinking.  In general, reporting does not result in new knowledge construction beyond the declarative level. 

Research = strategically collecting, judging, and analyzing information in order to support ideas and conclusions.  Research demands higher-level thinking (analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing), resulting in new knowledge construction.




Developing Your Thesis

A Thesis:

- proposes an arguable point

- states what you intend to prove

- anticipates & refutes the main counter-argument

- must be clear and specific

- guides your research

- sets the focus of the paper

A Thesis is NOT:

- vague

- written in 1st person

- a list of every point

   to be made


Use one of these Thesis Generators to create a rough draft of yours:

Thesis Generator (University of Phoenix)

Thesis Creator

Thesis Builder

Use these documents to guide your thesis development:


Inquiry Learning - Learning Through Research

Stripling Model

Stripling, B. K. (2003). Inquiry-based learning. In B. K. Stripling & S. 
     Hughes-Hassell (Eds.), Curriculum connections through the library (pp. 
     3-39). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Teacher Librarian

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Brenda Boyer
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The Big6 Research Process

The Big6 Research Process:

1. Task Definition

1.1 Define the information problem

1.2 Identify information needed

2. Info Seeking Strategies

2.1 Determine all possible sources

2.2 Select the best sources

3. Location & Access

3.1 Locate sources (intellectually and physically)

3.2 Find information within sources

4. Use of Information

4.1 Engage (e.g., read, hear, view, touch)

4.2 Extract relevant information

5. Synthesis

5.1 Organize from multiple sources

5.2 Present the information

6. Evaluation

6.1 Judge the product (effectiveness)

6.2 Judge the process (efficiency)

Learn More about Big6 


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