I attended Writing a Paper Using the I-Search Process by Bethany Shull and Mary Fish. The I-Search inquiry based format allows students to write a research using guidelines to create first person “I” rather than the classic research format. The I-Search Report is adapted from Education Department Center “The I-Search Unit” and based on Ken Macrorie’s The I-Search Paper: revised Edition of Searching Writing (1984). One of the benefits of writing the research paper and the process allows the students to be open and honest about using the internet and the sources they will eventually site. Another cool thing is that it challenges the student to write a higher order essential question rather than “Who is my favorite baseball team?” which could be easily answered using the classic version of research, however, with the I-Search form the inquiry is more focused on the process of how students got to their answers. Students write about the research process and chronicle all the steps involved in order to answer their essential questions. The student will record what they learned and what this means to them as a researcher. The five sections of the I-Search Report include:
- My Question: What I Already Knew, and What I Wanted to Know
- My Search Process: The Story of My Search
- What I Learned: My Findings and Conclusions
- What This Means to Me: Growth as a Researcher
The week before attending EARCOS, I had just wrapped up a research report with my grade 6-8 students. Students were assigned to follow the classic format, including using note cards to write their questions and answers, writing a rough outline, the opening paragraph with thesis statement, et cetera. To say the least, it was a chore for many of the students, especially the boys. I am looking forward to using the I-Search format because it should free students from the traditional form. And the chronicling of their research process using “I” statements should will allow them to “show” their thinking rather than me trying to guess if the writing is their work. To me, this is similar to asking students to show their work when solving math problems, which will allow the teacher to see the child’s process and not just the answer.