Basic Process

victoria-leon-5Basic Process for Elementary and Middle School Students

The following section will provide an overview of the basic process of doing a research project at the elementary level. For more information and ways to do a more advanced project, go to “Step By Step.”

Week 1

  • Think: What topics do you already care about or are interested in?
  • Generate three ideas about that topic that you are curious about.
  • Don’t think about the solutions at first, just think about what needs to be done better, faster or correctly.
  • Narrow down to one favorite idea you would like explore.
  • Make it into a question you want answered.
  • Start researching the history of this problem, and what research has already been done on the topic.
  • Write a short report about the problem. Explain what you learned. This will become your “background research” for your display board.

Week 2

  • Write an introduction, telling us why you are interested in this problem and what you will do.
  • Be thinking about the many different outcomes to the question you are asking.
  • Brainstorm ways to test and ways to answer your own question. This will be your research plan.
  • Ask for SRC permission if it involves humans, animals or things that could be dangerous.

Week 3

  • Make a list of materials you’ll need.
  • Write your specific method for testing, step by step.
  • Think of all the variables you can control.
  • Think of all the variables you cannot control, but will discuss at the end that might have affected your results. All good researchers acknowledge this.

Weeks 4,5,6

  • Begin your testing. Collect data.
  • Take photos during the research/testing phase, if possible.
  • Write everything down in your journal — even mistakes!

Week 7

  • Type up the method or procedure you used.
  • Number your steps or make a flow chart.
  • Gather data and chart results.
  • Organize and report the data.
  • Analyze data, using mathematics, statistics and graphs.
  • Form conclusions – which are the answers to your question -based on the data.
  • Did you come up with other questions along the way?
  • Discuss the challenges you encountered — and limitations, such as variables that could have influenced results.
  • Discuss implications. Explain why your research is important.

Week 8

  • Paste all sections onto display board.
  • Select a catchy, creative title.
  • Decorate and add color and photos. Be creative!
  • Write your final research report by taking the research plan you wrote at the beginning and then adding in all that you did and discovered doing your project.
  • Add reference section to your report. Include it on your board, if possible.
  • Remember: It is always wise to allow extra time — just in case it is needed!

 Completing a Project On Time

Every Child. Thinking Critically. Solving Problems.