Pizza, The Research Process and Resulting Lightbulb Moments

How often do you observe your students, especially the younger ones, in the act of research? And how many of them choose to sit down at a computer, type in their question and then click on the first website in the list?

Getting them to understand there is a process they can follow for effective research results, and that there are some steps they need to take BEFORE plonking themselves in front of a computer screen is a bit of a mission, wouldn’t you agree?

So I have developed several strategies aimed at teaching the process of research in an attempt to make it as transparent as possible for students.

Strategy 1:  Developing and embedding a school-wide research process

This is the visual to support this:

Research Cycle

This works well as an A3 poster displayed in the library and in classrooms.

It can also be inserted into workbooks or assignment sheets to reinforce and remind where applicable.

Strategy 2: Identifying each step in the process


This supports your school research process and helps as a visual reminder for students which is the main step in the process they should be using at each stage.  I have used this as a small symbol at the top of each page in my research booklets.

Strategy 3: Explaining the research process

This can be tricky as no matter how concise we are or how simple we try to make it, it can be difficult to explain research in terms our students can understand.  Several years ago fellow librarian and good friend Donna Watt explained the way she went about introducing research to her junior students (11 and 12 year olds) to a group of librarians and teachers as part of a professional learning day.  Several in the group had real “light bulb” moments as it became clearer to them and they began to think about research in a different way.  Donna was kind enough to allow me to create the power-point I’ve shared above using her Pizza Process idea.

Last term I used this presentation with all of our Year 8 classes before embarking on a unit where I was teaching online research and note taking skills.  It worked very well.  I created cards with each research step visual on it and made up sets of them to use in small groups as an activity after running through the power-point.

Here is my lesson plan for this:

The Research Process Activity

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