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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
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
- The instructor brings up
examples of networking and asks the students for examples of when they
- 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
- 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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