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Theme Step #3: Research

The transition into research begins with the students having questions about the theme that can't be answered by members of the class or by people that are close to the class. It requires that students conduct surveys, do outside reading, consult specialists and/or go on field trips. Materials are accessed and information is processed by the students.

The research step of theme development provides an opportunity for students to do a wide variety of types of reading. Some common places where thematic information can be found include: libraries, encyclopedias, television, phone books, employment related documents & materials, music, newspapers, and magazines.

Research Activity #1: Survey
Students create a survey with the questions that they want answered. They can choose to have a targeted response group or ask people at random.

Research Activity #2: Networking/Informational Interviewing
Networking/ Informational interviewing requires that students go out and talk with people in order to learn targeted information. It's one of the best skills to have when it comes to looking for work.

  • The instructor brings up examples of networking and asks the students for examples of when they networked.
  • Students brainstorm what it is that they want to find out while instructor writes on chart
  • Students contribute names of people they know who might be able to answer those questions, or provide information in those areas.
  • Students discuss whether to invite a speaker into the class or to go out and find out specific information from that person.

Research Activity #3: Setting up a Networking/Informational Meeting
Students can either write to or telephone the person/people with whom they wish to interview.

  • Students decide whether to write or call the targeted person/people.
  • Students receive a model of an appropriate request letter or a transcript of an appropriate telephone conversation.
  • Students discuss and may wish to alter the language contained in either model.
  • Students practice each model alone and/or in pairs.
  • Students make contact.

Research Activity #4: Going on Field Trips
Students may find that they would be able to learn a lot about their theme by going somewhere outside of the classroom.

  • Give students examples of places they could go to learn about different themes. (for example, if the class wanted to know more about animal overpopulation they could go to the humane society).
  • Ask students where they could go in order to learn more about their particular theme.
  • Have students volunteer to make the arrangements. The task of how to make arrangements may need to be discussed in class.
  • The class decides on specific information to look for and develops question to take with them prior to going on the field trip.

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