Encounter the Research Task

Skill #6: Reflect and collaborate.

According to a Harvard Business School study:

[The] results reveal reflection to be a powerful mechanism behind learning, confirming the words of American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey: “We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience.” … In fact, these beneficial effects seem to be lasting.

Skill-builders & Tools

See this link for a study on the importance of reflection in the research process.

Earlier in this research process, you began a research log of your choosing. That log should serve not only as a bookkeeping tool, but also as a source of reflection as you continue through this process and begin to create your own work. You will use the log now, in the final part of the gathering step as you collaborate with your peers. See the student resources section for links to research logs.

Another way of reflecting on the research is through the use of a reflective journal. A reflective journal - often called a learning journal - is a steadily growing document that you (the learner) write, to record the progress of your learning. You can keep a learning journal for any course that you undertake, or even for your daily work. See this link for more information on reflective journals. See the student resources section for a template.

The guided inquiry design process by Kuhlthau recommends the use of inquiry circles between students who are searching similar topics.  Maintaining communication with peers though the searching process can provide you with the necessary support to distinguish between important details which you should be evaluating, and insignificant information which should be discarded. In your inquiry circles, you should focus on the following questions, related to this step in the research process:

  • What are all the sources that might be used?
  • How do I locate these sources?
  • Have I located sources with diverse perspectives?
  • Have I found enough accurate information to answer all of my questions?
  • Have I discovered information gaps and filled them with more research?
  • How well did my inquiry process go?

In addition to your research log, it is useful to engage in a discussion of your findings with other researchers. See the Do Now activity below.

  • Reflection - consideration of some subject matter, idea, or purpose.
  • Evaluate - to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study


Student Resources

Below are some sample research logs:

  • University of Illinois logs in spreadsheet and document format.
  • University of Toronto has compiled links to several different useful logs.
Teacher Resources
DO NOW: Use this Pair-Share Protocol to reflect on and discuss your findings with peers who have been researching topics similar to your own.
What would you like to do next?
  • Get help with skills for the next step in the research process, Step 3: Create
  • Return to the Grades 9-12 Research Guide Homepage
Skills Search & Gather