The Research Process

At Spring Hill Middle School, we use the Big 6 Information Problem Solving Model to guide you through the research process.  The Big 6 helps you "think about your thinking." Planning and thinking about your approach to research will help you become a more effective learner. 

Step 1. Task Definition 

What do I need to do?
What questions do I need to answer? Focus on the essential question.
What are the requirements? 
What should my end product be?
How will it be graded?
When is the project due? 
What is my topic?
What do I already know and what information will I need to find? 


Step 2. Information Seeking Strategies 

How will I find the information I need?
What resources will I need?
How will I determine that my sources are valid?


Step 3. Location & Access

     A.  Search the Library Catalog.

          Destiny Online Catalog

     B.  State Library Databases. 

          Brittanica Online Encyclopedia - encyclopedia for general information

          Student Research Center - Magazines, Biographies, Transcripts, Primary Source Documents, Photos, Video

          History Reference Center - US and World History

          Kansas History - 1854-1865 

**Helpful hints for using the State Databases**         

  • Use the limiters in the left column refine your search.
  • Always choose "Full Text."
  • If your topic is too broad, the "Subject" limiter is very useful in narrowing your topic.
  • Use "Advanced Search" to perform a Boolean search, search by publication and many other limiters. 
  • Can't access the state library databases at home?  Stop by the library or email Mrs. Cheek to get your Kansas State Library eCard.

     C.  Reliable Web Sites.

          If you are using a search engine, like Google, to search the Internet, YOU must determine if the information is reliable. How? By evaluating your sources.  

          Use this Website Evaluation Rubric to determine if the website you've found is going to be a good site for research.


Step 4:  Information Use

Read, listen, view. 
Pull out the information applicable to your topic.

     Take Notes!

Paraphrase and summarize in your own words. You can use regular index cards or use USD 230's electronic notecard. The template is available here via Google Drive.

     Cite Your Sources!

Create the citation for each source as you are using the source.  You can use the Citation Quick Guides (paper copy) available in the library or create a digital document using one of the following online tools:

     Citation Maker

     Citation Machine


Step 5:  Synthesis

Put your information together into a final product. If your teacher gave you specific options for your project, be sure you understand all the requirements before you hand in anything.  If you can choose your project, you might consider one of the following:

Write a paper - This site about 6 Trait Writing can help you break down the writing process and make it easier to understand.

Create a video - Use Animoto.

Create a presentation - Use Power Point on your computer, Google Presenter, or Prezi.


Step 6:   Evaluation

If your teacher gave you a rubric or grading checklist, use it to make sure you've included everything before submitting your final product.
What did I learn?
What worked well?
What will I do differently next time? 

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