Good research habits every child can learn
At a glance
- Keywords, note-making, skimming and scanning are valuable skills your child can use to hone their research.
- Keywords are words that relate to the main idea of a topic.
- Note-making involves extracting and recording the main ideas of a text in an organised way.
- Skimming is used to get the main idea of a text as quickly as possible.
- Scanning is used to search for keywords or phrases.
Effective research involves more than just finding any information on the topic of study. Keywords, note-making, skimming and scanning are valuable skills your child can use to hone their research and ensure the information they gather is targeted and relevant to their topic.
Keywords are words that relate to the main idea of a topic. They can be used to gain access to the meaning of the topic and to assist with internet searches. Keywords can also be used to scan a passage for relevant information. Your child may need some help to make a list of keywords on a topic. For example, some keywords for the topic of whales could be: cetaceans, marine mammals, migration, endangered, fins, flukes, blowholes, pods, Odontoceti, Mysticeti, reproduction, lifespan.
Note-making involves extracting and recording the main ideas of a text in an organised and systematic way. Its purposes are to:
- assist understanding
- identify key concepts
- plan speaking or writing
- assist recall of information
- express ideas clearly and succinctly.
Some notes on whales could be:
Give birth to live young, feed off milk from mother, high internal body temperature
Belonging to group including dolphins and porpoises
Blubber to maintain warmth
Hunted for blubber, meat, bones
Winter migration to warmer waters
Toothed whales – around 73 species
Or Baleen whales (14 or 15 species)
Fins, flukes, blowholes
Skimming is used to get to the main idea of a text as quickly as possible. Skimming is done at a speed three to four times faster than normal reading. People often skim when they have lots of material to read in a limited amount of time. It's also used to see if an article may be of relevance in researching a topic. Skimming works well to find dates, names and places.
There are many strategies than can be used when skimming:
- look at the title, subtitles, headings, subheadings, words in bold print and illustrations
- read the first sentence of each paragraph
- read the first and last paragraphs.
Using our example of whales, you could check when searching the internet or in a reference book that the entry has all the general information on whales – cetaceans, marine mammals, migration etc.
Scanning is used to search for keywords or phrases. It involves moving your eyes quickly down the page or through a paragraph, seeking specific words and phrases. An example could be looking up the word ‘Baleen' in a dictionary.
This site uses Google Translate, a free language translation service, as an aid. Please note translation accuracy will vary across languages.