Some easy steps to Successful Pre-Search Strategic Planning

Now days the internet is an amazing place filled with a wealth of information.  Actually, there is so much information, students should be given the skills on how to search and calculate in order to utilize the remarkable treasures that can be found in an ever running faucet of information.  Even as skilled researchers have developed meta-cognitive skills in order to prepare for their encounter with their favourite search engine, this is not always the case of students in the classroom.

Here are some steps for Pre-Search Strategies

1. Design the Question:

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As a teacher it is significant to understand the purpose of the research activity. This helps design the research question that is to be used. Is it a query with a definite answer or is it one that is open ended? There is a large difference between the two as students are facilitated during the process. A simple research question may be easily answered during a search engine. In this case, there could be minimal time spent on pre-search, with an emphasis more on web page evaluation and search strategies. On the other hand, it may perhaps be the question is more open ended. In this case there may be a requirement for pre-search strategies, though even simple questions can also be served by some pre-search activities.

2. Emphasize The Need To Know: To start we should understand that research really does involve student investigation. Maybe before answering a question, we ask students to ask more questions.  Time and again this is called the Need to Know.  A good open ended question that drives research does not always have an understandable and precise answer. In other words, it could not be Google-able. In its place students might ask "Need to Know" questions that can be answered in a simple search. It might also lead to more questions, allowing for divergent learning. Teaching students to first ask great questions might be more important than starting the task by finding answers.

3. Clarifying the Question: Time and again students do not even understand the question being asked. In this case the query needs to be simplified. There might also be a discussion needed allowing students to clarify the question. This may involve the Need to Know as described. It may also require that students break down the query and get definitions to words being used in question. This might facilitate the requirement for students to find synonyms, antonyms, and associations, before diving into the search. It might involve a mini search, where definitions are found for word meaning. In this way students find success at researching manageable tasks. This be able to be especially powerful when students are allowed to collaborate together seeking answers.

4. Creating Student Journals: Educators should encourage students to keep a road map of their pre-search journey. It may include words, definitions, reflections; this can be completed using a reflective journal.  One may ask students to write down entries to reflect on their research journey activity. The teacher could develop a rubric that uses components of critical thinking. These components of critical thinking can be discussion prompts in student journal.

5. Defining the learning goal and target: keep in mind that research is a process. While the end aim is to try to find an answer, remind students they could run into more questions first. It is only during though this process that real learning takes place. The focus has to be on the process and not the reply. This has its formation in the pre-search time phase. If there is no pre-search time given so possibly the end product has become more important than the procedure.

6. Defining the answer: There may still be times while there is no answer, and students have to formulate and must generate their own answer. This can be discussed in this significant pre-search process and students may require determining which kind of question they may have. In this way, students can learn that the internet does not always have the reply.  It also allows students the powerful procedure of creating their own new knowledge, which in turn allows for better perceptive.

7. Allowing for Formative Assessment: It is significant to use formative assessment technique in order to assess students as allowing for future instruction. Include pre-search learning activities, look for devise rubrics, celebrate success, feedback and be ready to give guidance in any setbacks. This may include an exit slip that asks for student understanding of an important word that must be understood in order to find out success in the next phase of the process. The next post in the series would include tools for possible activities.

8. Encourage collaboration: Encourage collaboration all through these the pre-search phase, and later. Working with others will help make confidence and can also help out in developing understanding. A collaborative and engaged group can frequently promote rigor by challenging and questioning each other.

9. Make use of Internet Tools:


There are various internet tools that can help students and teachers during the pre-search process. They are engaging even as also promoting the important meta-cognition needed to really look for and generate answers though researching. The next post in this series would be about possibilities.

10. Generate awareness beyond the search engine: Many times students not only fail to practice any pre-search strategies, other than they go instantly to Google. They should see that it is important to understand the query before prompting a search in a search engine. Talks on different ways to find answers can also be part of the pre-search. What subscription data bases do they have access to, what may be in the library, are there are other search engines, are there non-traditional research sources for example interviews, museums, transcripts, the hidden internet, or other possibilities. Examining this concept can make the research time more creative.

In wrapping up, it is necessary to block out time for pre-search.  After all pre-search is the procedure of learning how to ask high-quality questions, discovering with answers. And after that coming up with more questions. It includes the act of defining the query as building an understanding of important word meanings. It allows for formative learning, at the same time as also incorporating the power of teamwork to discover and understand. Also of importance understands there might be many ways to reply a question, and some questions might not be answered. Most importantly, some of those answers can be their own student creation from information they have learned along the way. These skills are emphasized; students would become masters of 21st century learning, a concept that would be so significant to their future of challenging and exciting problems.


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