Research methods are easier to teach in steps because it is such a complex process. In Florida, our county implements the FINDS Research process. FINDS is an acronym describing its five step research process:
It is based on the Stripling Model of Inquiry. For this lesson, we will discuss the first step: Focus on the information needed. I use my Promethean Flipchart, loaded with FINDS model background information and steps, which were given to me by Lynn Oakvik, our district Literacy Supervisor. It is the model that our district is encourages all media specialists to implement because it is well received by students of all ages. I consult with our school media specialist and we collaborate on creating an explanation of each step in student friendly language. Today, I introduce the FINDS five step process, discuss our goal and rubric, and list what we already know about the research process from our past experiences.
Common Core is about deepening knowledge through shared research. Research takes time. So, FINDS is a five day step by step process. This is our first day, so we discuss the area of my FINDS FOCUS FLIPCHART that addresses Focus on Research.
Students work in Cooperative Groups to research Animal Rights vs. Pet Owners' Rights. I divide students and assign two teams to focus on Animal Rights as the other two teams focus on Owner's rights. At this time, students will work in teams to plan their research using the FINDS planning worksheet. Students are to complete only the top portion labeled "Focus" so that they are planning and organizing their research focus only.
For the purposes of this research, I ask students to focus also on persuasive techniques learned in previous lessons to collect relevant information that will support their claim. A shift with Reading Standard 1 in the Common Core encourages the use of evidence or support for opinions or claims and our previous lessons on persuasive techniques give students additional focus as they begin to retrieve information from sources in the investigation stage of FINDS. Students must compare/ contrast two or more sources on this topic and select the most important or relevant information to take notes and document. I circulate to make sure students have the necessary sources for their research.
The FINDS worksheet was very helpful to students. Our school district's Literacy Department created this organizer tool and it really helped students organize their thoughts similar to traditional graphic organizers. As evident on the FINDS Student Sample, students are learning to fill out this form to FOCUS on target areas for their research and to support their claims.
Students share their Focus plans only with the teams that have the same claims for now. I ask each team to consider what might be challenged by the teams with opposite claims and to think about defending their arguments. This may be an additional area to focus on prior to the actual investigation stage of the FINDS process. This assignment will lead into a Socratic Seminar at a later follow up lesson. Therefore, students cannot reveal their research findings with the opposite teams until the actual Socratic Seminar.