Research Skills in Elementary School

In the information age, it is becoming increasingly important that our students have the literacy skills to:

  • access
  • analyze
  • evaluate
  • store
  • retrieve
  • record
  • communicate
  • remix
  • produce
  • distribute

information. As an elementary school teacher, I believe that we need to START teaching these skills early.


We need to integrate these to introduce and develop  media literacy skills from the beginning. It is important that we develop a information literacy plan, that considers and supports:

  • ISTE’s National Technology Standards
  • The school’s Technology Standards set for each grade level
  • Grade level curriculum
  • Media specialist curriculum

The plan needs to:

  • show progression from one grade level to another
  • link to and integrate grade level project
  • foster communication and collaboration among classroom teachers, technology facilitator/literacy specialist and media specialist
  • include a variety of media – books, newspaper/magazine, internet, audio, video, images

Technology Standards

  • ISTE National Education Technology Standards- NETS for Students 2007
    • Research and Information Fluency
    • Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
      • a. plan strategies to guide inquiry.
      • b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
      • c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
      • d. process data and report results.
  • Our School’s Technology Skills for Evaluation and Selection of Information
    • Identify keywords, names, and phrases for a search
    • Gather reference material online
    • Evaluate research results from a search engine
    • Search using a Web browser
    • Use proper citation methods for sources

According to Berkowitz & Eisenberg there are six main skills or also called “The Big 6 Research Skills” to master in order to become a  successful researcher.

1. Task Definition
1.1 Define the information problem
1.2 Identify information needed

2. Information Seeking Strategies
2.1 Determine all possible sources
2.2 Select the best sources

3. Location and Access
3.1 Locate sources (intellectually and physically)
3.2 Find information within sources

4. Use of Information
4.1 Engage (e.g., read, hear, view, touch)
4.2 Extract relevant information

5. Synthesis
5.1 Organize from multiple sources
5.2 Present the information

6. Evaluation
6.1 Judge the product (effectiveness)
6.2 Judge the process (efficiency)

Further Resources:

These are some of my thoughts as I start to draft a plan to introduce, demonstrate, foster, support, reinforce and integrate research skills in elementary school. What are some of your thoughts, ideas and/or experiences on this topic?