D50 Research Model

Harvard District 50 Library Media Specialists and a panel of teachers from Crosby, Jefferson, Harvard Jr. High, and Harvard High School joined together for lively discussion and debate for the purpose of creating a research model that could be adopted for assignments and projects from kindergarten through high school. Prior to the initial December 2016 meeting, a folder in Google Drive was created for gathering different research methods, models, and reading materials related to the most recent recommendations for research practice. This provided our panel with quality information and examples of successful models (The Big 6, DIF Model) to study and analyze prior to coming together for discussion. In other words, we did our research!

The importance of adopting a district wide research model is summed up by this passage from 21Century Information Fluency (http://21cif.com/index.html):

“If the school or district does not have a designated research model, one should be considered. A consistent approach is needed for students to tackle a research question. The common vocabulary will ease the transference from class to class and from department to department. Shared expectations of the research process will promote its use across the curriculum.”

The goal for this group was to create or adopt a flexible and comprehensive model that could be adapted for all grade levels, for any project, and for any subject while providing a common vocabulary that will become embedded in students’ frame of reference. The intent was to create a model which would serve as a guide for teachers as they design research projects and as a road map for students to ensure their research success. We also wanted to present clear expectations for responsible research practice, including critical evaluation of information sources and proper citation.

The group also discussed that it would be beneficial to create visuals to help students better understand key research vocabulary. Quality nonfiction texts employ this strategy with success. This method may improve comprehension for some technical research terms at a variety of grade levels and abilities.

As the district increases 1:1 with Chromebooks or tablets, students have access to more information than ever before. Intertwine the abundance of information with the high volume of misinformation on the Internet, and it is clear: navigating the Internet and digital information has become a very difficult process for students. (Stanford Study: EVALUATING INFORMATION: THE CORNERSTONE OF CIVIC ONLINE REASONING) Deciphering the validity and reliability of information are concepts that are further developed in subsequent grade levels, but we can begin to educate students to question the source of the information they read to be mindful users of information. This process makes up a large portion of our research model.

As librarians, we are eager to collaborate with classroom teachers on research projects. This is often difficult when we are not familiar with the teacher’s expectations for the process. A universal approach will facilitate collaboration between the library media specialist and all classroom teachers, regardless of the subject or project.

Our model is comprised of six processes falling under two main headings: preparation and production. These are bridged by a deliberate process of thought and information synthesis.

Each process is further defined and examples Are provided here:

Preparation Processes:

The bridge between the preparation processes and the production processes can be described as the synthesis process in which the researcher combines elements from their research to form a new whole. In the research model, the elements are the findings from the materials gathered, the new whole is the conclusion(s) drawn from those findings. Most committee members felt that this was an important step to define, as we often see students who simply want to start compiling information into slides, or a document, quickly, without taking the time to create a project that truly demonstrates their own knowledge or learning.


Created by Karen Kruckenberg, April 2017.




Wallace, Virginia, and Whitney Norwood. Husid. Collaborating for Inquiry-based Learning: School Librarians and Teachers Partner for Student Achievement. N.p.: Libraries Unlimited Incorporated, 2011. Print.


Created By
Karen Kruckenberg


Karen Kruckenberg

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