How to integrate  basic research skills  in  teaching and learning

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Issues for discussion. What can be classified as basic research skills?Why do our students need basic research skills?What does integration into teaching and learning mean?Why do we want to integrate?What are the essential elements needed to develop research skills?How do you integrate?. What can be classified as basic research skills?.

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How to integrate basic research skills in teaching and learning

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1. How to integrate basic research skills in teaching and learning Developed by: Dr Robert E Gerber

2. Issues for discussion What can be classified as basic research skills? Why do our students need basic research skills? What does integration into teaching and learning mean? Why do we want to integrate? What are the essential elements needed to develop research skills? How do you integrate?

3. What can be classified as basic research skills? Do literature searches Read to find specific and applicable information on a topic or problem Select relevant contributions to a specified topic from literature Analyse and compare contributions from literature Synthesise and evaluate literature views to establish premises which your arguments are based on in order to draw relevant and substantiated conclusions

4. Research skills cont Identify problems within a specified context Identify sub-foci within an identified problem Set hypotheses Select a relevant research approach from known research methodology Identify the steps to be taken to compile information and data towards highlighting and/or solving the problem

5. Research skills cont Select and develop relevant tools to gather data Analyse and evaluate data Make deductions from analysed and evaluated data Use deductions to formulate ways for solving the problem

6. Research skills cont Select the most appropriate way to solve the problem Test the solution Draw conclusions Report on the outcomes of the testing of the solution Write short papers or articles on research findings

7. Why do our students need basic research skills? To learn in an analytical, synthesising, problem solving and evaluative way. To use as scaffolding to assist learning. To be prepared for the demands of the world of work. To be able to learn actively, critically and reflectively.

8. What does integration into teaching and learning mean? Demonstrates the relevance of the research skills Encourages good learning habits Raises the standard of students’ work Encourages students to bring their critical and reflective skills to bear on the topic they are studying

9. Why do we want to integrate? Encourage active learning Provide opportunities to practice, develop and apply research skills Provide opportunities to produce evidence for assessment and portfolios Encourage critical thinking and reflective learning

10. What are the essential elements needed to develop research skills? Knowledge Procedures and processes Techniques

12. How do you integrate? Supply relevant knowledge needed to master the procedures, processes and techniques Supply the steps for and an explanation of the procedure/process/technique(s) Supply a learning task to apply and hone/refine the relevant procedure/process/technique(s) Guided practice exercises to master the steps of the procedure/process/technique(s) Autonomous practice opportunities to refine the procedure/process/technique(s) Assessment of progress with feedback on level of mastery Opportunity to reflect on own learning Final summative assessment of mastery (NB Other peripheral issues like motivation, learning ability, etc are naturally part of the learning process.)

13. Continuum of skill development

14. How to build the development of research skills into learning opportunities? Determine which of the skills are relevant for a specific assignment and determine how these skills can be part of the assignment Build assignments around specific research skills Make skills part of competence-based learning tasks in the classroom

15. Make skills part of competence-based learning tasks Supply structured guidelines on how to go about applying the skills Be clear about the outcomes you want students to realize. Do your students have the skills you think they do? DESIGN the assignment to incorporate the use of a range of information formats and search strategies and to encourage the evaluation of the sources that are used Break down the assignment into research strategy steps Break up the assignments into doable segments with set due dates that require the researcher to reflect on his process Consider alternative designs for the assignment Define the standards by which their final products will be judged. (Knowing what you want will help you communicate it to your students) Avoid common problems

16. Be clear about the outcomes you want students to realize. Here are five questions to facilitate the process: What do you want the student to be able to do? What does the student need to know in order to do this well? What activity will facilitate the learning? How will the student demonstrate the learning? How will I know the student has done this well?

17. Supply structured guidelines, eg Break up the topic into key words by: Analysing your topic and define in your own words the main concepts of what you need. Selecting keywords. Considering alternative or variant spelling Considering related/other words (use subject encyclopaedias, subject dictionaries, glossaries, bibliographies, etc.). Note synonyms (Use a thesaurus). Translating your topic into the subject language of the catalogues and indexes that you use. Checking each keyword or search term systematically in each search tool until relatively satisfied. Using more general or specific terms if necessary.

18. Do your students have the skills you think they do? Analyze your instructions carefully. What research skills do students need to have in order to realize the outcomes you anticipate? Would a library instruction session help your students be better prepared to do the assignment? Do you see any opportunities to build transferable literacy skills into the requirements of the assignment?

19. Breaking down the learning opportunity into research strategy steps will help them accomplish your stated learning outcomes Define your topic using an encyclopedia article or textbook chapter for background information Develop a list of relevant keywords and phrases to search in the library catalogs Use the library catalogs to find books on your topic Use periodical indexes and full text databases to find more recent information in magazines and journals Use Internet directories and "search engines" selectively to locate authoritative, high-quality web sites

20. NB Break up the learning opportunity into doable segments with set due dates that require students to reflect on their process Encourage evaluation of the process and the results at each step Give credit for and grade each step Require students to create a portfolio or research log of his/her process

21. Define the standards by which their final products will be judged Assessment example: Student will include a paragraph that describes the scope of the book they used, how it is organized and why it was a good choice for their topic Sample criteria to be used to judge student work: Books cited are reference books Description of the book includes at least 3 factors that describe the scope of the work Organizational pattern for the book is accurately stated Student states a minimum of 4 reasons why the book was a good choice for their topic. One may be opinion and 3 must be from the evaluation criteria list developed in class (or justified to be included in a list such as the one developed)

22. Cont / another example Consider your learning task instructions. Find an article in an accredited journal relating to your learning task and review the article to be able to indicate how the article fits in with your selected problem area, how it helps you understand your problem area better, how it can help you to focus your problem, and what the value of the article for your research will be. CRITERIA: Level of structure; logic; being to the point; extensiveness of literature research; insight into the problem; bringing forth new views/scope; appropriateness, and the level of incorporation of relevant literature in the final product

23. Criteria by which their final products can be judged The essay is clearly sub-divided. It starts with an introduction setting the scene for the discussion on the review of the selected article and indicates what the discussion will be about. The introduction is followed by separate paragraphs each discussing an issue about the review of the selected article, and explaining how the reviewed selected article can be of benefit in researching the selected problem with substantiating arguments and references. The essay is concluded with at least a summary of the main points made or synthesis of the writer’s views.

24. Criteria by which their final products can be judged

25. cont

26. Avoid these common problems An entire class looking for one piece of information or researching the same specific topic; especially difficult when printed materials are involved. Students required to use printed materials the library does not own (or does own, but not in sufficient quantity), or online sources they are not licensed to access. Students working from incomplete/incorrect information. Students assigned excessively vague or general topics, e.g., "women in America," without guidance on narrowing a topic. Students given obscure trivia questions and told to find the answers.

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