Make your own free website on Tripod.com
 

THINKING SKILLS-FOCUSING 

GETTING STARTED ON AN ASSIGNMENT OR PROJECT

Keeley Library   April 22, 2000
FOCUSING TECHNIQUES
  • Brainstorm broad topics
  • Use clustering to focus the topic
  • Use webbing to determine related topics and narrow the  topic 
  • Set up an outline
  • Set up Statement of Purpose, and record research questions to guide  the project.

  • Adapted from Montana Model Library Information Skills Curriculum

    Brainstorm broad topics.
    Example:
    "What kinds of things would I like to know about   turtles?"

    What do they eat?
    Do turtles make good pets?
    Do turtles have natural enemies?
    What colors are turtles?
    How do turtles reproduce?
    Where do turtles live?`
    Why do turtles have shells?
    Why do turtles have sharp claws?
    Are turtles an endangered species?
    What different types of turtles are there?

    Use clustering to focus the topic.
    Example:

     
     

    Use webbing to determine related topics and narrow the topic.
    Example:

    This web then becomes the basis for your initial outline.

    Outline can be modified, depending on how much information you find on each sub topic. Use the web and initial outline to write the research "questions' that will guide your project.
    Set up an outline 
    (Example)
    Set up Statement of Purpose, and record research questions to guide the project. (Example)
    I. Topic (turtles)
         A. Sub topic (species)
             1. Detail (fresh water)
             2. Detail (salt water)
        B. Sub topic (enemies)
             1. Detail (hunting)
             2. Detail (natural selection)
             3. Detail (food source)
        C. Sub topic (size)
            1. Detail (weight)
            2. Detail (length)
        D. Sub topic (reproduction)
             1. Detail ....
    Etc....
    Statement of Purpose:
    I plan to gather information and statistics about the habitat of the endangered red bellied turtle in Massachusetts and describe possible ways to prevent this species from becoming extinct.
    Questions to guide the project:
    1. Overview information/statistics/definitions
    Example:what are the facts about the turtle's habitat, and what statistics exist about its survival?
    2. Background/causes /reasons
    Example: what conditions in the turtle's habitat could be endangering its existence.
    3. Effects/solutions /recommended changes
    Example: what could be done to improve the turtle's chance for survival?

    INTERNET RESOURCES

    Generating Ideas Defining & Focusing Your Topic
    Focusing Your Topic Focusing Your Topic Worksheet

    Return to Making the Keeley Library Work for YOU
    Return to Integrating Library Resources with Learning Objectives
    Return to Teacher Pages
    Return to Critical Thinking
    Return to History Resources Page
    Jane Constant, Reference Librarian
    Keeley Library, B.M.C.Durfee High School of Fall River
    September, 1978  to  June, 2001