What’s the best way to do effective research for your TeenTech Award projects? Time invested wisely pays dividends and we are grateful to the Information Literacy Group at CILIP for working with us to produce a set of really helpful tips and guidelines.
From how to get the best results from Google to how to protect your IP, you’ll find the ideas very useful for all projects you may be doing at school or college.
CILIP sponsor a special award for Research and Information Literacy in the TeenTech Awards.
Why do I need to collect my own research?
You may feel that doing research is a waste of time and that you are better off just getting started on your design.
But if you simply rush into your project:
- How will you know what has been developed already?
- Perhaps someone else has had your idea?
- Perhaps someone else has already conducted some research into your area of interest?
- Perhaps there is a new development that would really help you
How to protect your ideas
Take a look around you. Almost everything that you use has been created by someone who has invested their time, effort and money to make it. There are rules that protect their and your creativity.
Creativity & Intellectual property laws
These rules are called intellectual property laws and they don’t just apply to finished commercial products, they apply to anything that anyone creates that is original. They are important to understand if you want to sell your ideas or your creative work but they are also equally important if you want to give your work away.
Evaluating the information that you find using the CRAAP test
Once you have found your information it is important to evaluate them so that you keep the best ones for your project.
One way of doing this is by performing the CRAAP test on your sources.
Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose.
Search strategy: How do I make the most out of a Google Search?
Simply typing in your search term will bring back thousands, sometimes millions, of ‘hits’.
Be smart and reduce this number to get exactly what you want from your search.
Link your project to what your customer actually wants and needs
Having a great new idea or approach to solve a problem is fine, but remember that it has to be fit for purpose.
Think about the intended customer and their needs.
If you do not know what they want, you need to do some research to find out.
Research is a messy process!
Most of you will be used to completing tasks set by your teacher, who will give you a question to answer, tells you when to do your research and tell you where to look for your answers. You then discuss and write your answer. Job done!
For TeenTech the expectation is that YOU will drive the project.
This means deciding what questions you need to have answers for and when and how you will do your research. Reading reports, articles and opinions often provides answers – but often as you learn more about your topic, it leads you to more questions that need to be answered.
How to write an effective questionaire
To get information and opinions that will be useful for your project, you will need to write your questions carefully. You need to be aware that the same question written in different ways might get different answers.
The best questionnaires are easy for the users to understand and also provide the researcher with answers that are easy to analyse. It is important that you consider what information you need to collect right from the start.
Referencing your research: creating citations and bibliography
There are 3 reasons why you need to reference, or show, where you found the information that you have used for your
To show what you have read and found (or referred to). This allows the judges to see how widely you have researched, the range and type of sources (documents and/or people) that you have used.
To show that you are aware of current developments in your field.
To show that have acknowledged other people’s work and have avoided plagiarism (or copying) ideas.
What search engines are out there?
Most of you will be familiar with Google and will automatically use it every time you need to search, but there are a number of different search engines to choose from that also search the internet.
What are the differences between them?
- Each engine has their own index, or collection, of sites that they look through. Different engines have different formulas, or ways, of searching through the information.
- Some engines are specialised, meaning that they only look for certain types of information in specific places on the internet.
Have an idea which could make life easier, simpler or better. Clearly identify an opportunity or a problem and match it to an Award.
Spend some time thinking!
A really important process that you need to start with is thinking as widely as possible. You and your team members need to generate lots of ideas so that you have a good basis to use to focus in on your final project.
Research and Information Literacy Award Checklist
This Teentech Award is judged across all categories and is open to all projects.
Use this checklist to ensure that you include the evidence you need to demonstrate your research and information skills.