Friday’s Q and A // Project Research

I enjoy teaching students how to research. It’s very difficult. Students come into this project with the primary skill of “googling” any question or curiosity they’ve had. That’s a fine way to start, but as we mature academically, specific skills are necessary to find information efficiently, to find accurate information, and to organize our learning.

  1. Finding newspapers and books related to our topics is the most challenging aspect of this project so far. We’ll do an activity on this Monday in class. BRING YOUR LIBRARY CARD TO SCHOOL ON MONDAY!
  2. When searching for your topic, don’t just stick to your exact topic. Broaden your search terms. For example, when searching H.H. Holmes, try using terms like Chicago HIstory, 1890’s; World’s Fair of 1893; Sociopath; Chicago Police Department; Englewood. These are all relevant terms in that they will help you find information related to H.H. Holmes’ life.
  3. Ask questions that help you find important information. “Where is the Brookfield Zoo?” is a question, yes. But does the answer provide you with helpful info? And shouldn’t you already know where the zoo is located? Instead, a question like “Who established the Brookfield Zoo?” or “Why was the zoo started?” may give you insight as to the zoo’s significance.
  4. Some topics simply take more time to find info on. Or, they may be too specific. For example, a student has a “Twinkie” project. That may be too specific. Perhaps a broader topic like “Chicago Confections” may work. That would be sweet!
  5. TALK TO ME!!! That’s the best suggestion I have if you’re stuck. Email me. Doc me. Come visit me. Instagram me. I don’t care what you need to do, but I cannot help you if you do not communicate with me. I understand my room is busy in the morning; use the web to contact me! Or leave a note. Whatever the case, let me know how I can help you. Even if it’s not immediate, I WILL find a way to get to you.

The next couple of due dates are essentially pushed back a week at this point. I’ll introduce the idea of a Thesis next Friday. In the meantime, keep asking great questions and keep finding important and meaningful info!

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