Solid Research in a Virtual World

Posted by Cassidy Taylor on Jan 19, 2015 5:51:28 AM

Teaching children and teens to navigate the internet and other digital resources for information is an essential part of education in the 21st century. With more and more of our lives moving online and many of our students having lived their entire lives online, it is imperative that we take the time to teach our students how to conduct smart searches, discriminate between results and to interpret the information that they find.
How many times have you assigned a research project only to get Wikipedia as the main provider of content in the bibliography? Frustrating I know, but I also know I am not going to get them to stop unless I show them a better way. Here are my top 3 tips to helping students navigate the virtual world to find solid information.


1)Teach basic research skills just like the old days! Students need to know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. They also need to learn information writing skills and the art of discovering reliable and credible resources. None of these things have changed. The biggest change is the location and format of information in the digital age.

primaryresearch Research for Writing: Doing Primary Research

by Valerie Bodden © 2013

ISBN: 9781566601481

A narrative guide to conducting primary research, complete with an overview of methodologies, tips for collecting and applying qualitative and quantitative data, and helpful resources.


studyskills2 Study Skills Book 2

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author) © 2013

ISBN: 9781612476667

From reducing the stress of test taking to looking up words in a dictionary, these binders have it all. Includes organizing for study, improving memory, taking notes, goal setting, and more. Topics Include: Time Management, Planning and Goal Setting, Developing a Learning Style, Paraphrasing and Summarizing, Answering Essay Questions, and more…


2)Give your students a digital research toolkit with tips and tricks of the trade. Also talk to them about how the internet works in general. Help them understand and use online digital reference databases and how to use language intelligently.How is searching Google different than a library academic database? Research is a lot like traveling with new language skills and customs to learn.

usinginternet Research for Writing: Using the Internet

by Valerie Bodden © 2013

ISBN: 9781566601511

A narrative guide to conducting research on the Internet, complete with an overview of methodologies, tips for generating search words and evaluating sites, and helpful resources.

21centurycoach Using Technology, Information, and Media-Book T

by Saddleback Educational Publishing (author) © 2011

ISBN: 9781612473338

Thirty-six activities and lessons (Lessons 37-72) teach students information literacy, understand how the information is organized, identify the best sources of information for a given need, locate those sources, evaluate the sources critically, and share that information. Includes: Defining Types of Information; Sharing Information; Defining Media; Creating Newsletters; Defining Technology; Blogging. 16 graphic organizers & assessments.


3)Practice in the classroom. Have fun. Let the students pick out topics and then go searching on the internet together to see what you find. This is the perfect time to demonstrate the tools and techniques that you have been talking about and also to walk with students through analyzing the source of the information.

Pupils In Class Using Digital Tablet With Teacher


Common Core Connections

A.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

A.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.


References and resources

How Teens Do Research in the Digital World

Media's K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum maps

Teaching Students Better Online Research Skills

Learning to Research in the Library

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Technology, Literacy

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