Writing & Library Research Methods Lesson Plan: Articulating a Research Question

Lesson objective(s):  Students will generate search terms around a research question

Total estimated time: 35 minutes

Additional outcome(s): Students will understand the relationship between search terms and Harvey’s “keyterms”

Course work or assignment underway:

Research proposal

Work and/or reading completed before class:

A work of criticism.  Students will be asked to identify and underline the thesis (or theses) of the reading before they come to class and to bring a copy of the reading to class with them.

Sequence of Classroom Activities:

First, we’ll talk about the concept of keyterms.  What do students think it means? How do they know when a word is a keyterm? (5 minutes)

Then, students will go through the article (or perhaps just a section of the article?) and circle the words that they think are keyterms. One clue is that these words are likely to appear many times throughout the article. They should find about 3-4.  (5 minutes)

Students will break into groups of 3-4 and compare their keyterms. Have them explain to each other why they chose the words they did. (5 minutes)

Then, student will list out these words as if they were search terms. I’ll take a minute to show how this is done.  There are essentially two parts of this: first, deciding which words need to be searched at the same time, and second, finding out which words can be expressed in other ways. Students can brainstorm synonyms for words that are important. (10 minutes)

We’ll finish the exercise by having the class come together as a group and listing all the words together.  We’ll talk about how this can be transformed into a search string.  (10 minutes)

Posted in Keyterms

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