How to Help Your Teen Research so They Can Ace Their Assignments
Updated: Feb 9
It's probably been quite a while since you had to do research for a school assignment. Things have changed since we were at school. These days it isn't necessary to head to the library and fight over the encyclopedias with your classmates!
Researching can be tricky for anyone, especially in the age of misinformation. Did you know that it is estimated that at least 30% of "information" available is inaccurate! (fake news anyone?)
This is why it is more important than ever to help our kids find factual, true information and be able to think critically - is it accurate and trustworthy?
Check Out Our 21 Tips to Help Your Teen Research
Start your research by looking at reliable, trustworthy sources like books, journals and government websites. Sites that end in .gov, .edu and .org are usually the best.
2. Get a broad overview of the subject from Wikipedia - but remember not all the information here will be correct and accurate! Why? Because anyone can write, change and edit a Wikipedia article.
3. Encourage your teen to take notes as they go. That way they will have all the information they’ve gathered in one place. They can use a graphic organizer to help them.
4. Make sure to find multiple sources of information, that way you can make sure that the information is accurate and that you find out everything about the topic.
5. Head to the library! The internet is not always the best source of information and librarians are great at helping you find the information you need.
6. When searching for information online, make sure to include search words that are specific to your topic.
7. Try out some of the advanced search options on google or whichever search engine you use.
8. Stay focused by closing social media sites and notifications while you are researching.
9. Don’t just use the search results page to get information, actually click and go to the website.
10. Use different search engines to get different information (google, bing, yahoo) and remember to look beyond page 1 of the search results.
11. When taking notes, don’t just copy and paste. Make sure to put it in your own words. That way, you ensure you understand the information and won’t accidentally plagiarise someone else's work.
12. Consider if the information you have found is accurate and/or biased in any way.
13. Make sure the information is up to date by checking when it was written, or when the research they did was conducted.
14. Make sure the author is a credible source of information by checking out their information and qualifications. This should be somewhere on an article or the website.
15. Make sure to keep a bibliography of your sources.
16. Keep track of all the websites you have visited in your bibliography.
17. Take breaks from research! Don’t do it all in one day.
18. Ask your teen's teacher for help if they need it, or encourage them to.
19. Explore the topic from different angles. This is really important when deciding which topic to complete a project on. Sometimes there just isn’t much information available and it might be easier to choose a different topic that has lots of information. If they choose a topic with limited information, it can affect their grade because they can’t complete all parts of the project well.
20. Stay organised by keeping notes, graphic organizers and bibliography all in one place.
21. Type notes in Google Docs so they never get lost, and can be accessed from anywhere. Same goes for assignments.
Really stuck with helping your highschooler? Try our Ace Highschool group class. We cover English and Math, provide homework help and each week work on skills like - planning and organising, goal setting, study skills, research skills, essay writing, and more.
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