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Information Literacy: TEKS to ACRL: Refines Research Question Based on Preliminary Findings

Relates Texas Expectations of Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) to Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) information literacy standards

Goal 3: Summary: Refines Research Question Based on Preliminary Findings

The student should be comfortable with revising the research question and thesis after doing the preliminary research. This should be seen as a normal progression which helps to focus the research more clearly and to provide an interesting and individual approach to the topic.

TEKS: Kindergarten - Grade 2

Revise the topic as a result of answers to initial research questions, with adult assistance (1.25A)

Revise the topic as a result of answers to initial research questions (2.26A)

TEKS: High School

Clarify research questions and evaluate and synthesize collected information. (1.22, 2.22, 3.22, 4.22)

Modify the major research question as necessary to refocus the research plan. (22A)

Critique the research process at each step to implement changes as the need occurs and is identified. (3.22C, 4.22C)

Exercise: Middle School

TEKS: Grades 3 - 5

Improve the focus of research as a result of consulting expert sources (e.g. reference librarians and local experts on the topic) (3.27A, 4.25A)

Refine the major research question, if necessary, guided by the answers to a secondary set of questions. (5.25A)

ACRL Standards

Reevaluates the nature and extent of the information needs (1.4)

Reviews the initial information need to clarify, revise, or refine the question. (1.4a)

Exercise: High School

TEKS: Middle School

Clarify research questions and evaluate and synthesize collected information. (24)

Refine the major research question, if necessary, guided by answers to a secondary set of questions. (6.24A)

Narrow or broaden the major research question, if necessary, based on further research and investigation. (7.24A, 8.24A)

Exercise: Elementary School

Exercise: College

Now that you have done some preliminary research, you know more about your topic, how you want to focus it, and how best to approach it. You will propose a thesis and then prove it. Your thesis may be a very simple one, but it should be something with a clear answer. Begin with a question and then turn it into a thesis sentence. Introduce your topic with one or two sentences, and then state your thesis. Follow this example in defining and revising your own topic:

General topic: Examine the effect of scurvy on sailors, how the disease adversely affected naval operations, and how the cure came to be discovered.

Revised topic: Focus on Dr. James Lind's contribution to finding a cure for scurvy. Provide (1) background on the disease and (2) its effect, (3) early attempts at cure, (4) Lind's contribution, and (5) subsequent developments. [Note: you can use these sub-topics in your outline, and they will show you what further specific information you need to gather.]

Focused question: How did Dr. James Lind's research into a cure for scurvy affect British naval operations and influence subsequent medical developments?

Introduction and Thesis sentence: Scurvy, caused by vitamin C deficiency, killed more that two million British sailors before 1900, affecting British naval operations in war and in long-distance trade. Maintaining the health of her sailors gave Britain an advantage over her rivals. Dr. James Lind's research into a cure for scurvy built on previous theories, used innovative scientific methods, and influenced continuing research into this terrible - but preventable - disease.

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