Getting Started 2: How to Research Complex Topics
Students learn how to develop a research plan, organize their findings and evaluate sources of information.
Complex topics have no single right answer and no single source of information. Researching a complex topic challenges students to construct a “map of the territory” and evaluate the relevance of their findings. This activity provides a valuable framework for conducting research both on and off the Internet.
- Introduce the activity and divide the class into small groups of 2 to 4 students. Challenge students to discover as many sources of information as possible, and to look for different points-of-view on the topic.
- Provide adequate time for the groups to access Virtual Expeditions and complete the worksheet. If necessary, ask key questions of groups to support their research process.
- Debrief the activity with a class discussion.
- What did you learn about researching complex topics?
- What part of the process was most challenging? Why?
- Did you discover a wide variety of opinions? Describe the spectrum of opinions you found.
- What did you learn about evaluating information? What criteria did use to evaluate the quality and accuracy of information?
- And Now For Our Findings. Organize and synthesize your findings on a topic into a written report or classroom presentation.
- Crossfire. Conduct a debate between opposing or differing opinions on an issue or topic.