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Spartan Savvy: Integrative Model for Information Literacy

Activities covering information literacy topics

3rd Year Session Lesson Plan


Working in small groups, students practice elements of the research process, including developing research questions and critically evaluating sources.

Activity Time:

45-65 Minutes

Learning Goals: 

Students will understand the iterative nature of the research process.

Description/Lesson Plan:

  • Pose the rhetorical question (or discuss, in a longer class): What are possible steps in a research process?  Introduce the idea of research as exploration and the role of curiosity in research
  • Show the Picking your topic IS research video:
  • Pass the Problem Activity:
    • Introduce students to Credo Reference (or another reference source)
    • Discuss how to develop good research questions (show the Developing a Research Question video:
    • Divide the students into at least 3 small groups and provide each group with a Pass the Problem Handout (provide each group with a different broad topic or allow them to pick their own, ensuring each group has a different topic)
    • Ask each group to complete Part 1 of the handout in their small group (allow about 12 minutes), then pass their paper to the next group
    • Review instructions for Part 2 of the Handout, introducing students to Castleton OneSearch. Ask each group to complete Part 2 of the handout in their small group (allow about 6 minutes), then pass their paper to the next group
    • Review instructions for Part 3 of the Handout.  Ask each group to complete Part 3 of the Handout in their small group (allow about 8 minutes), then pass their paper to the original group (the group that completed Part 1 of the Handout)
    • Review instructions for Part 4 of the Handout.  Ask each group to complete Part 4 of the Handout in their small group (allow about 8 minutes).  
  • Class discussion: 
    • What factors made an article useful or not?
    • What makes a good research question?  Why did you choose the one you did?
    • How did your topic evolve in the process?  Could you see a topic evolve like this if you were working on it alone?
  • Share final thoughts:
    • Research is about asking questions
    • Topics are just starting points
    • Your research question or focus is likely to change as you encounter more information

Resources and Attachments: 

Teaching Tips:

Groups may need guidance in developing research questions.  Select broad enough topics to allow for a range of research questions.  Students could be asked to watch the Picking your topic IS research video prior to class.  Possible homework to reinforce lesson:  Ask the students to replicate the steps from the lesson with their own or an assigned topic and then ask them to describe how and why their thinking evolved on this topic.

Topics and Concepts: