Developing Research Questions from Your “Opening Matter” Outline & Conducting a “Limited Google Search”

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SWBAT utilize their outlines of the "opening matter" in their "expertise books" in order to form tentative, research questions.

Big Idea

... good questions are the heart of good research AND they blossom from close reading ...

Introduction and Context

12 minutes

This lesson is the second of a two-lesson sequence, teaching students to "mine" their "expertise" books for an argument to "call their own."  

As with the last lesson, I introduce/clarify the concept of the "opening matter" (my term), which is a way of universally describing the opening of any scholarly text for lay readership (just the sort of prize-winning books on our "list of 55").  The "opening matter" -- again to remind you -- is the Preface, Preamble, Forward, and/or Introduction to a student's "expertise text."  In these sections of any scholarly non-fiction work is the kernel of the author's larger argument(s).

Yesterday (and I recommend you refer to the previous lesson), I parsed the "Introduction" to To End All Wars, explaining why I marked the .pdf/photocopy as I did in pencil and blue pencil.  I showed my own outline of the introduction's structure, and I helped students to begin their own outlines, regarding their own "expertise book" "opening matter."  

Today, they will use this outline to build their own, tentative research questions, as well as to make the first pass at restricted Google searches.

Collaborative Review of Outlines

8 minutes

Students will have outlines completed from homework -- outlines of the "opening matter" for each of their "expertise books."  I post a spreadsheet (easily rendered from the Google Form, used to log their choices at the beginning of the unit) on the classroom screen, sorted by class period.  Each student, then, shares his/her outline with all other members of the class who are also reading the same book.  If a student is a "solo" reader, meaning he/she is the only member of that class reading that particular book then he/she shares the outline with me.

Once all of the outlines are shared, I ask students to consult the "Shared with me" folder on Drive and locate all of the outlines just shared from other classmates.  Then, I ask students to "put a fingerprint" on each outline, meaning they should leave one - two substantial comments on each outline for their classmates.  As those students who are in groups are "fingerprinting" each outline, I quickly review (on the classroom screen if they are willing) the outlines of students who are solo readers.

Creating Tentative Research Questions

12 minutes

After this period of collaborative review, I share my tentative research questions, and I briefly explain how I arrived at these by invoking the outline of the same material (that was part of the lesson yesterday).

Then, after students understand how their outlines can lead to questions, I ask them to write six - eight such questions on an index card that will be a "ticket out" for the period.

These tentative questions, stemming from their close reading of the "opening matter" become the basis for their limited Goggle searches in the next activity.

Initial Run of Google Limited Searches

16 minutes

After students have an index card filled with questions, I ask them to open a fresh tab and google, "Google Advanced Search."  They an easily navigate to Google's Advanced Search page from the first hit. 

Once there, I demonstrate how to limit searches by domain, and I ask them to do so for .edu -- that is all of their returns will come from colleges and universities.  Then, I ask them to type in the key words of their favorite, tentative research question.  (Refer to the attached. png for a helpful visual.)

Before the bell rings, I expect them to add at least six webpages to a folder on the Bookmark's Bar of Chrome called "my first research hits."