Organizing Digital Research


Recently with the collaboration of Julie Lindsay, the teachers of THINK Global School have been introduced to a number of new web 2.0 tools that will enhance student learning and achievement. As you may have noticed in many of your classes teachers are using new digital tools such as “wall-wishers” and “poppits.” This blog will set the guidelines for you to follow regarding the organization of online research.

Make no doubt about it, this will help you when you enter the IB diploma and start your Extended Essay, and be a magnificent benefit to you when you enter university. Most of your teachers went to university when online research was a new tool that was combined with your previously done print research. Works cited pages and bibliographies were used as a way to absolve individual students of claims of plagiarism, now you are able to use your source list as a collaborative tool for your own further research or for others. You guys, as digital natives, learn and work in a very different setting than we are used to.

It is crucial that you have a way to organize the research you do online. 


We have recently talked about students as curators of their own content. Curators in museums are in charge of choosing, organizing and managing the items and exhibits that are on display, we want you to be able to do the same thing with the materials you find online.

Here’s what you guys are going to do …

Step 1: 

Using web tools like, DiigoScoop.itGoogle Reader gather your research in one place.

Step 2: 

Once the research is gathered what are you supposed to do with all those links, articles, essays, videos, images, infographics, etc.?

You are going to create a source list, which you can call Works Consulted at this stage in the game. Which will be a compilation of everything you have gathered so far.

Step 3: 

Annotate all of these pages to remind yourself what information each link will provide.

An annotation should include:

  • Complete bibliographic information.
  • Some or all of the following:
  • Information to explain the authority and/or qualifications of the author. For example: Dr. William Smith, a history professor at XYZ University, based his book on twenty years of research
  • Main points of the work.
  • Any biases that you detect.

Evaluation or why you feel this work is suitable for your topic, or how you will use this information

 Step 4: 

Describe the research process. Real learning consists of learning from your mistakes and asking deeper and greater questions.

  • How did your questions/opinions change throughout the research?
  • What were the highs and lows of the research and writing/creation process?
  • What were your best sources? Why?
  • What were your worst sources? Why?
  • What did you learn from this research?

You guys are amazing learners, students and teachers (yeah, I said it).

Let’s see what we can do to improve ourselves and in turn improve the world. 


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