Tuesday, December 13, 2011

College ready research skills

Are our students ready for college? Do they have the information skills required to conduct higher-level, academic research? In April of 2010, the magazine “School Library Monthly” interviewed college professors and students and reported on the number of college freshmen who had been given adequate preparation in terms of research skills. The article states that “59% of college instructors are dissatisfied with the ability of high school graduates to do research.” And, in fact, surveys of students revealed that much less than half of all high school graduates felt they had basic research skills. In light of these findings, a basic checklist of student skills was created by Patricia Owen and M. Oakleaf. Listed below are some of the research skills your student should expect to have upon graduating high school. I begin developing these skills from 5th grade on.
 Define a research question or topic that’s not shallow or “pop”
 Understand that Web search engines rarely locate college-appropriate information
 Find and use different forms of information
 Distinguish between OPACs and online databases
 Conduct effective searches using keywords, Boolean logic, and field searching
 Find full text articles
 Find books using Library of Congress classification
 Weed through and evaluate search results to find adequate and accurate information
 Use evidence to synthesize, communicate and argue a thesis
 Cite sources properly using multiple citation styles
 Write without plagiarizing, use in-text citations

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