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This is the "The Research/Inquiry Process" page of the "Research Guide" guide.
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Tools, tutorials, and all sorts of resources to help you successfully navigate the research process!
Last Updated: Oct 27, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

The Research/Inquiry Process Print Page

STHS Library Mission


At Springfield Township High School Library, our goal is to ensure that learners graduate as competent, critical, and ethical users and producers of ideas and information. It is our mission to prepare lifelong learners; "information literate" citizens able to determine their information needs, recognize relevant information, solve problems and effectively, and creatively communicate the results of their research. We understand the importance of sharing our stories with audiences beyond our school walls.

We strive to model our school's shared core values: respect, excellence, integrity, and community.

Instruction, formal and informal, provides students with a process transferable across subject areas and from academic to real life. The bulk of the learning is "laboratory style" with students involved in guided, inquiry-driven research using resources in all formats: traditional, new, emerging.

Welcome to our
virtual annex!

Our mission at the Springfield Township High School Virtual Library is to translate the mission of the school library for our learning community in school, at home, anywhere. Our website allows us to open our library--its customized instruction and its services--to users 24/7!

We welcome your suggestions,
Dr. Joyce Valenza, Teacher-Librarian


CML What is Media Literacy?


Writing Task Resource List (Purdue OWL)


Writing Process (Purdue OWL)


TRAILS: Tool for Real-Time Assessment of Information Literacy




SIRS How to Write a Research Papers

SIRS Research Guide including editing and revising work: See also Documentation/Citation & Info Ethics on tab bar under Research Tools.


Stripling Model of Inquiry


What is a research project?

 A research project, whether it is a traditional paper, a video, or a media presentation, is the end product of a thinking process that involves student-centered questioning or inquiry.

Research is a life skill. We are always seeking information. What car or stereo should I buy? Which college should I choose? Which book should I read next? How can I sell this idea to my boss? How can I convince the school board to act on my proposal? Should I have this surgery? Our ability to use information helps us reach conclusions, make decisions, and communicate more effectively.

Just as the careful car stereo buyer may "research" Consumer Reports and ask friends for comments about which model is the best, the careful student researches a topic in the process of thinking through his or her project. It is important to triangulate information by checking a variety of sources.  The car or stereo buyer may consult as many different, reliable sources as possible, makes notes, asks questions, consults additional sources, develops a point of view based upon all of the information he has found. As students gather information to reach a conclusion or support a hypothesis, they develop lifelong skills of information fluency.

Information fluency is the ability to access, evaluate, use and synthesize information from multiple formats, and to ethically create and share new knowledge in any of a variety of media. Information fluency is a set of competencies, skills that will grow with students, even when current operating systems, search tools, or platforms are obsolete.  Information problem solving skills are required across all disciplines.

The research process and the writing process are connected. Research is of little value unless you can effectively communicate your new knowledge. The same skills that you use to write an expository paper are used to develop the research paper or a project in any medium. Asking solid questions, developing a clear and focused thesis, sketching an outline or a storyboard, drafting, revising, peer reviewing, and editing all are steps with which you are already familiar. The research process is recursive. Although we describe steps, you will find yourself going back and forth among the steps, returning to several as you refine your work.




Basic "steps"

1.     Read about a broad topic with "peripheral vision," looking for subtopics and important terms. You may choose to check reference sources and video for context as you get familiar with a subject.

2.     Identify focused questions you are interested in investigating (See Asking Good Questions)

3.     Gather a working source list.

4.     Take notes on note cards or use NoodleBib.

5.     Look for patterns of information in your sources, your notes, your notecards.

6.     Develop clear and focused preliminary thesis. (See Developing a Thesis) 

7.     Gather information and evaluate the sources of information. (See Selecting and Evaluating Sources) (See Distinguishing Among Scholarly, Popular, and Trade Publications). Have you gathered a variety of quality materials? Have you gathered both primary and secondary sources?  (Note: For Language Arts projects, Your primary source may be the literary work you are analyzing.)

8.     Identify strong supporting points and rank them, making certain that the research and logical reasoning support them. Make sure that the evidence you collected is strong and that is directly supports your thesis.

9.     Develop an outline or storyboard or construct a visual organizing tool to organize your ideas and evidence.  You may choose to use Inspiration or any of many Web-based (See MindMapping, Graphing, Timeling Tools tools.)

10.  Prepare a rough draft WITHOUT USING NOTES, making sure that your own voice as a writer is clear.

11.  Add research documentation to the draft. (See In-Text Documentation) (If annotations are required, use this model as a guide.

12.  Revise the draft.

13.  Have a classmate or friend peer review your work.

14.  Revise the draft.

15.  Edit the draft.

16.  Prepare, proofread, and submit the final copy.

17.  If your teacher requires it, upload a copy of your work to

Remember, you may ask for help anywhere along the way!


Project Information Literacy (UW)


Dr. V & Gary Price on Research Skills


Research Process Calculator


Bloom's Revised Taxonomy (Andrew Churches)


UW Research Worksheets & Guides


Common Core Standards


Gale How to Write a Paper


DIRT: Digital Research Tools Wiki


Partnership for 21st Century Skills


Virtual Inquiry

Information literacy standards for student learning, indicators for student performance, and hundreds of collaborative lesson plans around the country give us some indication of the skills students are expected to master as effective and efficient users of information. Hopefully the goal is that all involved in information literacy education become wiser consumers of information. In mastering the elements of information inquiry, teachers and school librarians acting as instructional specialists model, teach and learn with their students the best ways to test and select information that is valid and relevant to solve information problems.


Mindtools: Information and Learning Skills


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