We should be intentional about teaching our kids how to access information on their own. Read these tips for teaching kids independent research skills.
In this information age, there is a swarm of information at your child’s fingertips. When it comes to doing their own research, you understand the gravity of them getting things right.
Kids need to learn how to do research, how to evaluate the research, and then how to gather what is best and most relevant.
That is a lot for our kids. Many of us see how social media makes it easy for our kids and ourselves to get information filled with half-truths or opinions.
When it comes to our child’s education, we must teach them how to perform research on topics and research well.
Ultimately, they should be able to independently go through the research process to come up with the information/data they need.
Explore these tips for teaching kids independent research skills in your home:
Explain what research is and why we need it.
Research is the process by which we can solve problems or get information, find answers, and organize the facts found.
Building on our knowledge base is why we do research. We can also compare, contrast, and challenge information by researching.
Here are some research skill-building resources for your students:
FREE Printable Student Research Skills Worksheets | Teach-nology
Build Online Student Research Skills | Madly Learning
50 Mini-Lessons For Teaching Students Research Skills (Printable PDF) | Kathleen Morris
Research Task Cards | Library Patch
FREE Research Worksheets And Handouts (For older students) | College of Supage Library
Research Skills Checklist | Scribd
Research Writing Printable FREE Worksheets | Education.com
FREEBIE Research Templates for primary learners | Tara West
Research Skills: MLA Paper Format FREE | Ima Rider
FREE Research for Kids Starter Kit | Wife Teacher Mommy
Don’t just tell them, show them.
Guide your students through the research process often. Walk them through it.
Whether it be weekly or daily, help your students obtain good and reliable information. Provide them with ample practice to use their research skills.
Use research resources for different subjects.
FREE Research Project Olympics vs. Ancient Greece Distance Learning Digital | Promoting Success
FREE “Less Mess” Explore the World: Research a Country or City | The Peanut Gallery
Animal Research FREE Packet | ATBOT The Book Bug
Planet Research FREE Worksheet | Imaginative Teacher
Animal Research Template (FREEBIE) | Summer Pittman
Biography Research Project FREE | MrsStanz
Use research step tutorials.
Teaching Students How To Research | The EdTech Show with Dan Spada
Learn to Research Elementary: Find Step | OSLIS Elementary Videos
Top Research Strategies for Students — Literacy Ideas | Sarah Clark
Provide students with the online tools and tips they need to research well.
Here are some resources to help you with good educational sites for kids and tools to using the master of all sites – Google.
Assess if the websites are legitimate. Sites like National Geographic, Scholastic, Encyclopedias, PBS, and BBC are generally reliable sources, as are sites that end in .edu and .gov, though students need to be aware of worldview and political leanings that can impact what is written and how it is written.
20 Great Research Websites for Kids | Ask a Teacher
Some of the Best Academic Search Engines | Educators Technology
10 Great Google Search Skills | Educators Technology
Research Skills Using Google Search | Brain Ninjas
12 Fabulous Academic Search Engines | Educators Technology
Teach your kids to Contrast, Compare, Challenge.
Pull up different websites to compare the information. Check whether a few websites are saying the same or similar things about a subject. (Also watch if sites say exactly the same thing with exactly the same wording – that may indicate it is copied from the same source or one of the sites you are viewing. In this case, three sites may not count as three sources.)
Provide your students with research assignments excluding the use of Google as their primary source of information. Get them looking into texts or articles for information to make them work a little harder for data or details.
Teach kids about the “research onion.”
The research onion was founded by Saunders around 2007 and describes the stages research goes through when developing an effective methodology for it to be credible.
Check out this resource to learn more about the research onion.
The Research Onion for Beginners | Tourism Teacher
Explain what plagiarism is and why to never do it.
Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas as if they were your own. Plagiarism is a form of cheating. Primary school learners might do it without even understanding that it’s wrong. They truly don’t realize it.
One time in a co-op. I assigned my first writing assignment to my group. My son’s response was very short, too short. I saw other kids writing so much only to find that they were copying the information from the reading resources.
They had no idea that what they were doing was wrong, so we had to go back to basics. Your kids don’t need to know the details of plagiarism when they are young, but they do need to know that the words and ideas must be their own or how to state if it isn’t.
Remember when teaching your kids to learn how to research independently that they will make mistakes. However, provide them with the opportunity to correct themselves and do better next time.
Let them know the sources you would like them to use and to check their work after gathering information. I will leave you with some short quotes to wrap up these tips.
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” — Albert Einstein
“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” – Wernher von Braun
“Research is creating new knowledge.” – Neil Armstrong
“Research means that you don’t know, but are willing to find out.” – Charles F. Kettering
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!