Step 1 Encounter the Task graphic

Step 1 Encounter the Task

Researchers are people who have identified an important issue to explore or problem to be solved. They follow a structured research process, engage in reflection throughout the process, and adhere to strict ethical standards. The research they do may have benefits for individuals, groups, and society.

In this step, you will prepare to become a researcher.

Home Definition | Reflection | Research Process | Benefits | Ethics | Organizational Tools
What is research? Lesson 1.1

What is research? "Googling" ... looking "it" up in a book ... a report?

There are as many definitions for research as there are people who conduct research. Your prior experiences with research have shaped both your current definition of research and your feelings about research. Before we build a common definition, share your background knowledge and feelings about research by completing Reflective Journal #1.

For the purposes of the Independent Research Seminar, we will need to arrive at a common understanding in response to the question, "What is research?" View the What is Research? PowerPoint, and complete the activities to create your own definition of research. 

In an Inquiry Circle, derive a definition of "research" using a Placemat Activity, as directed by your instructor.

Save or bookmark a copy of this Glossary of Research Terms, which may be a useful reference throughout your research process.

How do I become a reflective researcher? Lesson 1.2

The majority of your journals will be self-initiated as you reflect on your new learning, challenges you are experiencing, and on the process of conducting research. You may find these Reflection Journal Prompts useful at various points in the research process. The success criteria on this Rubric will be used to assess your Journals.

Reflection helps you to:

  • Actively process information
  • Organize information in meaningful ways
  • Connect new learning to your background knowledge or schema
  • Make connections across discipli nes
  • Become a self-directed learner
  • Understand your learning style(s) and preference(s)

Your instructor may have you post your Reflective Journals to a private student folder on the course wiki, a OneDrive folder or a OneNote notebook in MS Office 365, which you can access from the Instructional Tools tile in BCPS One. Your reflections will only be accessed by you and your teacher, although you may occasionally be asked to share reflections with your peers or mentor(s). In either case, remember to save your reflection with your last name and to number the reflections sequentially. Numbering the reflections helps you track your growth.

Consider the following quote:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.  Quote by Samuel Beckett
"Samuel Beckett." Xplore Inc, 2017. 14 July 2017.

Respond to this prompt in your Journal:

  • How does this quote resonate with you? When have you failed and tried again?
  • How do you change how you fail or succeed? What do you think Beckett means by "Fail better?"

Read the articles on "Metacognition" and "Reflective Thinking" to respond to this prompt in your Journal:

  • Write about a time when you did not reflect on what you did wrong. Did you make the same mistake again?
  • Why is reflection an essential part of learning?
What are the steps in the research process? Lesson 1.3
 BCPS Grades 9-12 Research Guide graphic
What are the benefits of conducting research? Lesson 1.4
Expore the links below to answer the question, What are the benefits of conducting research? Make notes on this organizer.

Read the article, "What Students Say about the Benefits of Research." According to these students, which benefit of research is most compelling?

In a Reflective Journal, describe some of the benefits that could result from the research you plan to conduct. Think about how your research project will benefit you, other idividuals or groups, and society.

Ethics in research Lesson 1.5

Select one ethical dilemma from these 10 Moral Dilemmas, and write a paragraph explaining your decision and reasoning.

Read and annotate the article, "What is Ethics in Research and Why is it Important?" Discuss ethics in research, and why adhering to ethical norms when conducting research is important, and is required by institutions and by law.

  • Your teacher may have you engage in in a Socrative Seminar for this discussion; refer to this Socrative Seminar Guide as needed.
How will I organize the information I gather and work that I complete? Homework

Here are three options for managing information you collect throughout the research process. You may choose to use just one, a combination of tools, or another tool entirely. Keep in mind that you want to choose a tool that allows you to:

  • access your notes and resources 24/7 from school and home;
  • add entire web pages or clip just the section(s) you need;
  • save photos, graphs, MS Office, and PDF documents;
  • and easily add, organize, and search your notes.
Microsoft OneNote logo

OneNote is a Microsoft program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users' notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, photos, screen clippings and audio commentaries. Notes can be shared with other OneNote users. OneNote is available as a part of Microsoft Office. A web-based version of OneNote is provided as part of MS Office 365 and enables users to edit notes via a web browser. In MS Office 365, you can upload external files to OneDrive (see below) and link to them in OneNote. BCPS students can access Microsoft Office 365 and OneNote from the Instructional Tools tile in BCPS One.

OneDrive is a storage tool provided by Microsoft for free for all BCPS students and teachers. OneDrive allows you to upload your files to the cloud so that they can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. Think of it like your H drive, but accessible from anywhere. You can also use OneDrive to share your files with other people, and link files stored in OneDrive on pages of your OneNote notebook.. BCPS students can access Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive from the Instructional Tools tile in BCPS One.
LiveBinders logo

Live Binders is an online 3-ring binder. It allows you to combine web content with PDF and Word documents in an online binder. The binder can be organized into tabs and subtabs and be embedded on blogs and other websites, or downloaded to a computer desktop. You may want to create a Live Binder to keep yourself organized as you complete your research project. Check out the video tutorials (see teacher for access) to learn how to set up and use your Live Binder. Once you have set up your Live Binder, you may want to view this Live Binder on creating a truly great Live Binder.

PbWorks logo Your librarian can set up a secure student folder on either the Student Researchers wiki or your school library's wiki in PbWorks. You can upload documents and other media files to your folder, and create wiki pages with links to documents, media and online sources.


BCPS Grades 9-12 Research Guide screenshot