The Trail of Research
Teaching Point: Today I want to teach you that as writers pursue a research subject, they think, "What about this topic is important?" That question often leads you to focus on a part of your original topic that leads you along a trail of research.
Let's imagine a trail of research based on the research we have done so far about teen activism.
Here might be a possible trail you could follow.
teen activism ---> Malala --> girls around the world being denied an education --> people are supporting these girls and providing these girls, globally, with an education
If you noticed we started with one topic- teen activism- and then that topic led to a sequence of related subtopics, including the issue of girls around the world being denied an education and including people who are working globally to help.
So, researchers start with a broad topic and then often hone in on a more focused subtopic, and then as they research their more focused subtopic, it leads them to put that smaller topic into context.
You are going to create a research trail in groups. The 1st person says his research topic to the next person as quickly as possible, then the next person focuses that topic, and so on. Keep going until your group has created a research trail. We will have a few volunteers share when we are done.
Next, we will break up into groups so that you can co-research one of a few broad topics. You'll share the work of research, but you'll each write your own information book and follow your own trail of research within that broad topic.
Here are possible topics:
- girls' access to education
- child labor
- saving the environment
- pet abandonment and adoption
Once you are in your subtopic group, find a partner to work with. You will have just today and tonight to get to know your subtopic better, and as you do your research, your subtopic will evolve. In the end, you'll each have a book, written about some aspects of your subtopic.
Share:Tomorrow I'll suggest a few possible ways that you can fashion a table of contents for the information book you'll be creating, but you need to come tomorrow ready to make some decisions. The trails of research you made today will help set you up for possible tables of contents or ways to organize your books.
Homework:Tonight you'll continue pursuing your research topic. After you document your trail of research, make sure you continue researching, taking especially good notes. Be especially careful to get the facts straight. Record quotations exactly; get the names and positions right, jot down source information and especially page numbers so others can find the information.
Remember to ask, "What's really important to me about this topic? and to let that question send you off, exploring related subtopics.
Come tomorrow with your trial of research, as well as notes you have taken to support your trail of research.