The student who is an independent learner is information literate and strives for excellence in information seeking and knowledge generation.
- American Association of School Librarians
Studies have shown that people who successfully find information on a subject follow a certain path or take specific steps during their searches. This path is known as the research process. The process includes basic activities such as thinking about the problem, question, or topic, identifying possible sources of information, searching for (accessing) information in those resources, organizing the information for better understanding, and sharing this information with others. Sometimes the path will be straightforward from beginning to end, but more often it will circle back and around as the searcher rethinks the question, identifies more sources, or revises a search strategy. Whether linear or circular, the path the research follows depends on the searcher, the specific question, problem, or topic, and the availability of resources.
(From Fostering Information Literacy by Helen Thompson and Susan Henley)
The research process offered in this guide is intended to provide all students at Akron Central Schools with a means for a common experience with research that emphasizes process along with product. By exposing all students, K-12, to a common research method (cognitively scaffolded by grade level) students will enter each successive grade level with a building understanding of not just how to write a paper, but how to engage in a meaningful exploration of information through a process based approach, ultimately preparing them to meet any research demands placed upon them in a post secondary setting. It is important that our students have a common understanding of the process, terminology and form as they move through district grade levels.