Planning for students to do research

What role does the research play in your plan of work?

Is the research going to provide a context to help students interpret sources (a text, original document, work of art or music)?

Is research to achieve a more authentic or meaningful creative outcome (e.g. a story set in historical period)?

Will the research be a mix of experiment and factual research to help students solve a problem, test a hypothesis or design something useful?

Is the research an end in itself so that the product will be a presentation of what they found out and how they did it?

When does the research play a role?

How much time will it be allowed?

Will you make them stop at a certain point, even if there is more to find out?

Will there be different stages and types of research e.g. background facts, testing opinions, sourcing materials and so on?

Who or what will determine the research?

Do you want to emphasise openness, giving students freedom to decide on questions and topics, with the outcome determined by the beginnings?

Or will the necessary goal determine the direction of the research?

Is it possible to give opportunities for students both to explore questions set by others and to set their own questions?

Is it possible for you to allow students to design their own experiments, surveys or prototypes before you demonstrate established tests for particular problems?

How will you model research?

Can you act as a researcher alongside them, to show what it is that you still need to learn and to show the best ways to research?

Can you employ a professional researcher, or a subject specialist or creative practitioner who is engaged in research? If so, what will their role be? For example, will they be evaluators of the project, subject experts to guide them to information, modellers of a research process or trainers in creative skills?

Do you need to provide any conceptual models to help the students prepare to do research?

How will you ensure they go beyond copying and pasting; or simple reporting of facts found?

Do you intend to use cultural sources (texts, images, sounds, objects) as the starting point, so that students interpretations of them can lead to questions and deeper enquiries? Will cultural sources (other than factual texts) provide data or answers to their enquiries? What methods will you use to interrogate and interpret those sources?

How will you enable their access to information?

Will you need to collaborate with another subject teacher, or plan with librarians or resource assistants?

Will the students be involved in deciding what reference materials and information-seeking methods they will use?

How will you help students to do their own searching for information? How will you guide them to look beyond the obvious sources? Is it possible to throw them in the deep end, getting them to reflect on their challenges as they go?

Can the students research collaboratively in groups, forming a community of enquiry, as well as doing personal research?

What will the students do with their research ?

How will the students communicate their discoveries and remaining questions to others?

Will the research be used to make a design, a solution, a new system, a new interpretation of an artwork, an informative presentation, a creative outcome?