In a few short months when you're handed that long-anticipated high school diploma, you'll likely consider what that pristine paper really means. High school graduation cannot and should not be merely a statement of what you know, but it should indicate that you know how to learn -- and how to find answers to your every question. Thus, it is fitting that in the last semester of senior English, we focus on research skills in the two of the four units.
Many words and experiences may come to mind when you hear "research," but in the broad sense, research skill is simply being able to find quality answers to a wide variety of questions.
These questions might involve life situations -- like finding college scholarships, gathering background information about a company you want to work for, figuring out whether you need life insurance, troubleshooting a computer problem, learning how to get a marriage license, deciding what to do about a suspicious cough, or becoming an advocate for political causes that concern you.
Other questions may be academic in nature -- like researching the history of American policy toward China, uncovering the impact of moving businesses overseas, discovering how alternative medicine can address the needs of the elderly, learning the potential damage of lead poisoning, or becoming an expert in electronics.
No matter what the query, you'll want solid information, credible information, and useful information. You'll want to be able to ask the right questions, evaluate sources, and recognize bias. Our goal in this first unit is to hone those research skills. We'll do so by learning about the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. in unit 5 next week.
To begin, engage in discussion with your peers about useful strategies in the research process. Click to the next page.