Children conducting research should plan, search for information, take notes, use the information and then create the final product desired. Once these steps are complete, it's helpful to evaluate the work done and make revisions as necessary.
Planning research begins with identifying what the child wants to know more about and then brainstorming as many ideas related to that topic as possible. Next, it's useful to make a list of all the things already known about the topic. A child can then go through the lists to identify key words and phrases that help narrow down search terms. The next step is to recognize any potential resources that can help answer the questions; these can include experts in the field, parents, the Internet, the library and a teacher.
Searching for information can involve browsing a variety of sources. The Grolier Encyclopedia and Searchasaurus are two such tools.
While searching for information, it's important to take notes. One way to do so is to make a cluster map. A child can start with a circle in the middle of a page, then draw at least three lines out from the center. On the lines, she can put facts that support her topic. Branching out from each of those facts, she can extend another line to include evidence.
Evaluating whether a resource is credible is paramount to any research; knowing this helps students decide whether or not to use the information found. Once research is conducted and sources are deemed reliable, a final product can be made, if desired.