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The Global Problems Research Project:

An Inquiry-based Activity

The Global Problems Assignment
Using a Pathfinder to Fine-tune the Research Process
Print out a checklist for this project
View the Rubric for this project
Task 1              Task 2          Task 3          Task 4
Task 5              Task 6          Task 7          Task 8
Task 9              Task 10

The Global Problems Assignment

This assignment is based on the William and Mary Research model.  Your group will conduct primary (sources such as interviews, examination of documents, maps, etc.) and secondary (print and online sources) research on a topic of your choosing.  Your goal is to become an "expert" on a sub-topic of this topic and then to share your findings with your classmates in a format of your choosing.  This will be an approximately six-week investigation.

Task #1:  Clearly identify the problem or issue you will investigate.

Before you decide if a problem is a "global" issue, take a look at these statistics about the world's population: You may also choose to select one of the following broad topics:
Sexism/Gender Issues War in Central Europe Human rights violations
Pollution Poverty Immigration
Child labor Y2K Peer Pressure
Drug Abuse Overpopulation Animal Extinction
Race/Hate Crimes Religious Conflicts Illiteracy
[Start keeping a research journal (homework journal) to record and reflect on questions, ideas, information.]

Task #2:  Conduct Background Research.

Read about the issue and identify several points of view or arguments from a variety of sources.  Start with the Library's News and Media site.   Search a few major newspapers for current articles about your topic.  Next use a Search Engine to get a quick overview of some issues related to the broad topic you have selected. Task #3:   Analyze the problem and develop questions that can be answered by gathering evidence (information and data).  Brainstorm a list of at least twenty (20) questions and a possible source for finding answers for each.  (Turn in this list as evidence of Task #3.)

Task #4: Gather evidence, using a variety of resources.

Task #5: Gather and organize evidence.

Task #6:  Draw conclusions and make inferences. [Refine your thesis statement.]

Task #7:  Decide what you think should be done about the problem.

Task #8:  Decide on the best form for communicating your results and create your final product.

[Write draft of plan for presentation; revise/edit/publish/create presentation and abstract.]

Task #9:  Reflect on the strategies you used to plan, develop and present your project.

 Using a Pathfinder to Fine-tune the Research Process

Some critics say that getting information from the Internet is like getting a drink of water from a fire hydrant.

The trick is to learn how to control the flow of information and to quench your thirst for knowledge without drowning.

The following Pathfinder will help. Follow its steps to learn how to do effective key word searches, evaluate web sites and locate top-quality resources you need.

Before taking your first step, review the three-step target model:

Before doing a key-word Web search, begin at the center, where you can get a grasp on the issue quickly. Then move to the outer edges of the Web to extend and refine your knowledge of the issue.
One Check print and electronic resources available through your media center
Two Search specialized online services.
Three Follow pre-selected Internet links.

Media Center Resources

Don't forget resources other than the Internet that might be found in the Media Center.

For example: the Library Catalog, CD-ROMs, reference books, newspapers, magazines and videos.

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 Internet Links

Below are a number of web sites that may help with your search.

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Search Engines

Search engines are powerful tools IF you you have the skills to use them properly.
Keep from drowning in a sea of muddled or misleading information. Here's some help: Return to the Assignment

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Citing Electronic Sources

It is very important to cite your sources.  Not citing sources is PLAGIARISM and could result in disciplinary action from SBHS.  For some assistance in citing sources, please consult the following sources. Return to the Assignment

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Checklist for Pathfinder Research Project

  Task 1: Developing an Issue worksheet
  Task 2: Research Journal (Homework)
  Task 3: Questions Brainstorm
  Task 4: Preliminary Works Cited Page
  Web Source Evaluation Page(s) for each web source consulted
  Task 5: Evidence Powerpoint Presentation
  Task 6: Report Your Findings 
  Task 7: Decide what should be done 
  Task 8: Submit presentation abstract (summary) for approval.
  Task 9: Reflect on the process of conducting research for this project. 
  Task 10: Report your findings to the class. 

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