This is the "Research Steps and Strategies" page of the "Pre-Search" guide.
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Pre-Search   Tags: pre-search, research  

Advice for the activities that lead up to searching for information.
Last Updated: Jun 8, 2010 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Research Steps and Strategies Print Page

Plan the Search

So, you have been assigned a research topic. Lucky you! But, where do you start? 
Right here. You need to make a plan:

  • What do you want to learn about?
  • What do you already know?
  • Brainstorm
  • Group ideas together
  • Make a list of key words or phrases
  • Where can you find information?
  • Gather your tools


Search for Information

When searching for information use as many resources as possible:

  • A library has encyclopedias, reference material and non-fiction books.
  • The library catalog groups books by subject, title, author and keywords.
  • Reference and non-fiction books have helpful indexes, tables of content and glossaries.
  • MPS Library Resource Center website has online databases and research tips.
  • An internet search or a query engine acts as a giant index.

Select Information

Start to organize your information with:

  • Data Sheets
  • Fact Finders
  • KWL Charts
  • Note Cards
  • Cluster Charts
  • Outlining


Interpret and Record Information

Follow these steps when interpreting your information:

  • Scan it - look for the main idea
  • Can you put it in your own words?
  • Organize it into lists of what is similar
  • Compare it
  • Put it in order



Evaluate Information

Follow these steps when evaluating your information:

  • Test the information: who wrote it, when was it written, are sources cited, are they an expert, has it won any awards?
  • Ask yourself: "Is it too hard to understand?"
  • Conclude with your thoughts: what did you discover, did it make sense, did you expect it, have you changed your ideas?

Communicate the Information

Yea! You've made it this far. How are you going to share the information?
Can you be creative? Think about these ideas:

  • a power point presentation
  • a display of your findings with pictures and charts
  • an oral report
  • a video
  • a model

If your instructor requires a written report include:

  • an introduction
  • the body - paragraphs including your findings
  • a conclusion
  • a bibliography

Remember to have your paper reviewed by a friend or a parent. Use their input to correct spelling, grammatical errors and sentence structure. Revising and rewriting is an essential part of the process.



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