Lesson Plan

Research Tips - Tricks - Tools

Research Information
Lisa L.
Media specialist/librarian
Middletown High School North
Middletown, United States
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12

Students will be able to...

utilize Wikipedia as a resource

evaluate websites for credibility 

identify the differences in website domains 

English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter

Activity: Conversing

What does the word research actually mean and how do we go about researching something?

Turn and talk to your group and come up with with a definition of the word research and the different methods you use to approach research.



2 Direct Instruction and Student Practice

1.  Teacher will review what a website domain is and ask for student volunteers to explain the differences based on the domains provided. Students will complete the student activity and then teacher will ask for group responses and feedback.  

2.  Using .org as a segway, the teacher will ask students if they utilize Wikipedia.org as a source and if so -should they? Ask for student responses and discuss the downfalls of Wikipedia.  Then, ask students to open Reliable Sources handout on Google Docs.  Using the links on the doc, direct students to Wikipedia's stance on using Wikipedia for research.  Have students review and complete response on shared Doc.

Wikipedia Scavenger hunt using - Doughnuts. Direct students toward that section on Reliable Sources Doc. Have student groups explore Wikipedia article on doughnuts and fill out the questions regarding the doughnut entry. Call class back together to see what they have found. Discuss how to use Wikipedia by utilizing its reference page or overall idea, but then verifying information and using original source vs. Wikipedia entry.

3. Now that we have ideas of sites to explore - let's look at the differences between sites and how we determine if they are credible.  For fun - show video "How to Know if a Source is Reliable" by Shmoop.  Ask students if they follow the steps outlined in video and why they do or why they do not.  After gathering responses, review CRAP test with students - what do the acronym letter stand for and why are they important?  After reviewing currency - reliability - authority - purpose definitions, walk students through three examples on the WEBSITE EVALUATION GUIDE found on Reliable Sources Doc.  After going through eval guide, assign different websites on the same topic to student groups and have groups use the CRAP test checklist to review a site assigned to their group. After reviewing assigned sites, student groups will share their findings with the group and we will compare and contrast sites and findings as a group.

If time allows - review database use or keep databases as a separate research lesson.

If time allows - preview the Google Search Tips and Tricks on the research pathfinder.  

***Show students that Works Cited examples are there for their use.





Student Instructions

1. Students will then click on and review each of the websites representing the different domains and will discuss the what they found on each site.  They will use prior knowledge of bias to determine if domains that are usually considered trustworthy (.org/.edu) still need to be properly vetted for use.  Students will utilize research pathfinder and create a group doodle documenting what they found.

2. Students will go to Reliable Sources handout and link to Wikipedia Research information.  Groups will create a statement about using Wikipedia for research after they review Wikipedia's own words about using them for research and share it on their Doc.

Students will explore Wikipedia article on donuts and fill out the questions regarding the doughnut entry on shared Doc.  Upon teacher request, student groups will share answers.

3. Students will consider their existing methods and ways that they currently use to evaluate information and sources after Shmoop video with a whole class share.

Students will use the CRAP test checklist to review a site assigned to their group.  Different groups will have different sites to review. Students will view sites and then determine the site's credibility and will then share their findings with the group. Students will contribute to class discussion comparing sites.


3 Wrap-Up

Activity: Assessing

Graffiti Wall Exit Ticket

On your group's large paper, write down the most valuable tip or hint you learned about researching and sites.

What will you do differently as you begin your research?

Any further questions?