You will be researching a controversial topic, taking a position and providing evidence for that position. You will also address any counterclaims. Final products will be determined by your individual teachers.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
1. Knowing how to research is a critical life skill.
2. Databases are amazing sources for reliable information but it is also important that you have the skills to find reliable information on the web (the place where most of turn first in our everyday lives). And while the Internet has many great awesome resources, it also has a lot false and misleading information.
3. Our confirmation biases might lead us to only seek out sites that confirm what we already think and it is important to evaluate the sources and evidence provided by all sides of an issue before coming to a conclusion of our own.
DATABASES FOR YOUR RESEARCH
Who is the author?
What qualifications or expertise does the sources have on the topic?
Why might the source want to make this argument/take this side?
Overall, how much do you trust the source on this topic?
What argument does the source make?
Describe the evidence used to support the argument/side.
What are the strengths of the evidence?
What are the weaknesses of the evidence?
Overall, how convincing do you find this evidence? If you have a personal opinion on this topic, set it aside and focus on the strength of the evidence.
How does this source compare with arguments made in another source?
How does the evidence in this source compare with the evidence from another source?
(Resources from Stanford History Education Group's Civic Online Resources)
WATCH THIS BEFORE USING WIKIPEDIA!!!
HOW SHOULD I TAKE NOTES?
DO I NEED TO CITE MY SOURCES?
Selecting the right topic is critical, not just because you’re going to be living with it for the next five to six weeks, but because choosing the right topic can make all subsequent steps in the process easier and better.
So…what to choose? A topic that you’re genuinely interested in, one that you have an opinion about, and one that you are not too emotionally attached to. The topic must also be appropriate in scope and degree of difficulty (I’ll help with this last one). Don’t wait! Start thinking NOW! As soon as you’ve decided upon a potential topic, you must have it approved by me, even if it is one of those listed below.
SOME TOPIC POSSIBILITIES
Cell phones in school
Mandatory drug testing (in the workplace, in schools, of high school athletes)
Birth control in schools
Use of animal organs for human transplants
Driving license laws (age you can get one, being re-tested at a certain age)
Drilling for oil
Regulation of dietary/herbal supplements
Single sex classrooms
Heterogeneous grouping in classrooms
Paying college athletes
Continuing space exploration
Early graduation from high school
Social/Behavioral effects of video games
Professional boxing/Ultimate Fighting
Academic standards for high school/college athletes
The Electoral College
School discipline/corporal punishment
Prayer in schools
Off-shore wind farms
Abstinence education vs. sex education in the classroom
Native American rights
Advertising and children
Genetically engineered crops
Nutritional requirements in school programs
Sex and/or violence in the media
College tuition costs
Hunting/fishing laws and regulations
…and the list goes on for days! In fact, if you visit SIRS (one of our media center’s online databased for articles on subjects of controversy), you will find hundreds of topics. Go to proquestk12.com, use “Ledyard” as both the username and password, and clock on “My Products Page.” Note that several of the top ten topics also make MY list of subjects you must avoid. Remember, as you peruse the list here, your topic needs my approval.