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Weekend Websites #99: How to Research

Posted by on June 8, 2012

Drop by every Friday to discover what wonderful website (or app) my classes and parents loved this week. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of yours as they are of mine.

how to research

Follow the decision matrix; learn to research


3rd grade-8th


How to research


Kentucky Virtual Library How to do Research


Do your students know how to research? They might mistake ‘research’ for ‘writing boring reports’ or ‘reading endless words that are hard to understand’.

As any teacher knows, that’s not research. Research is the oil to the gears of education. It’s the spark that lights the cerebral fire. It’s the solution for getting from here to there–akin to the invention of the wheel. How to explain that to kids?

The Kentucky virtual library shows students the step-by-step of searching out answers in a fun game-like interface that looks nothing like the research students are used to. It includes common steps like planning, searching, note taking, using the information and evaluating results. Each step has links to more information, sometimes print-outs and/or key words, to enhance understanding. What I especially like is it focuses on the process, including physical sources like books, card catalog, magazines, as well as online material. Go through these with students. Explain what they mean and their importance. Model it with a research project.

Of all websites I’ve seen on researching, this is one of the most user-friendly. What do you think?

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist, Editorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Any suggestions? Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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