- What is the best way to complete a research project?
Students need to be able to select a topic that is important and ties closely to the theme. Writing a thesis statement about that topic will give them something to prove or disprove with the resulting research. The thesis statement should be re-assessed throughout the completion of the project to verify that it is still valid and consistent with the student’s research results.
Delaware Social Studies Standards
Integrated in the Instructional Strategies
History Standard Two 6-8a: Students will master the basic research skills necessary to conduct an independent investigation of historical phenomena.Instructional Strategies
Gathering Information: 4-Fold Activity
Have students create a list of five or more historical events or people or time periods in which they are interested. What kind of history interests you? Political, military, social, intellectual, cultural? How much do you already know about it?
Have students then cross out their least favorite choice, leaving four items. Then cross out the next least favorite, leaving three items. Continue until only one event or person of interest remains.
Does the historical event or person left on your list have a relationship to the theme? It may not be an obvious relationship at first. Have students share with another student their most interesting topic and discuss whether it has a relationship to the theme.
Suppose that you have an interest in Native Americans. Fill in the chart below on the board or overhead as you relate this example to demonstrate that "Native Americans" as a topic is too broad.
|Theme:||Triumph & Tragedy in History|
|Topic:||Loss of Native American homelands|
For example, if you are interested in Native Americans and the theme is Triumph & Tragedy, a natural topic would be the loss of Native American homelands. At this point you may realize that it is impossible to look at the loss of homelands for the many and diverse Native American tribes across North America. This means that you have to take another step in the narrowing process and select a specific issue within the topic. Keeping in mind the available resources, you could then select the Cherokee Removal and Trail of Tears.
Have students complete the Topic Selection Worksheet available on the NHD website at http://www.nhd.org/images/uploads/TopicSelectionWorksheet.pdf Save the items about the thesis statement for the next strategy.Check for Understanding = Formative Assessment
- How do I find a topic that interests me?
- How do I know a topic relates to the NHD theme?
Offer these tips on Topic Selection