The purpose of this page is to support teachers in uncovering their questions, engaging in research, and critically reflecting on the ways their findings can strengthen teaching and learning.

  • Why should classroom teachers engage in research?
  • How can research inform classroom practice?
  • What tools and strategies can researchers use to find, organize, analyze, interpret, and share their work?

Research Process

What is the QUESTION?

What are the KEY ISSUES involved in the question? (Unpack the question . . . what are assumptions, beliefs, and values are embedded in the question?)

Who are the STAKEHOLDERS? (Students, parents, teachers, administrators, business leaders, community members, scholars, researchers)

What are the stakeholders PERSPECTIVES about these issues? (Focus Groups, Interviews, Open-ended Statements, Questionnaires, Surveys)

What does RESEARCH/SCHOLARSHIP say about these issues? (Google Scholar, Professional Journals)

What other SOURCES OF INFORMATION could I consult to add depth and dimension to my understanding of this issue? (Artifacts, documents, field notes, student work, observations) Be sure to think about issues of accuracy, confirmation, completeness, insight, missing information, perspective, and "triangulation."

How will I EVALUATE the accuracy, authority, coverage, currency, and relevance of the information I have gathered?

How might I REPRESENT what I have learned so that I can remember it and others can make sense of it?

How will I DISSEMINATE my findings in powerful ways that will motivate others to take action on these issues?

Samples From Previous Years

Anthony Fontana's Sample Inquiry Plan

View Our Projects!

Cool Online Tools

The following free, easy-to-use, online tools may give you and your group some ideas for how to package the understanding you gained from your FLTEACH project and/or your inquiry project and share it with your colleagues. Some tools (such as the banner generator) may need to be combined with others in order for you to convey your information adequately.

  • Brochures
    • Brochure Creator - Design brochures and flyers by selecting themes and templates, editing the text, adding your own images, and printing.

  • Coloring Books (From Photos)
    • Dumpr - This free online suite of tools allows you to edit your Flickr photos in order to turn them into coloring book images (VERY COOL), make them look old, turn them into globes, or add reflections. You can then save them to your Flickr account, or to your hard drive and then copy and paste them into flyers and other handouts. (Still in beta)

  • Comics
    • Comeeko - Free, well-designed software that lets you create comic strips and save them for others to view.

  • Newsletters
    • Letterpop - Choose from an extensive collection of templates and use one-click editing and drag and drop photo placement to create fancy newsletters. You can make up to 10 different ones available online for friends at any given time, or save or print them.

  • Plays
    • Create Your Scenario - Darling tool that lets elementary students select characters, type lines for each one, save their work, and generate a play script.

  • Posters
    • Motivator - Create your own motivational posters for free with a digital photo and a few clicks. Download them, e-mail them, print them, or upload them to Flickr. You can also order print copies.

  • Promotional Items
    • FDs Flickr Toys - Some FUN things you can do to Flickr photos (such as create CD covers, magazine covers, mosaics, trading cards, etc.) that would make super assignments.

    • Generator Blog - A fantastic blog that contains links to all sorts of free, interesting generators (such as cereal boxes, insurance cards, money, etc.) that would be great tools for students to use in creating creative advertising campaigns

  • Scrapbooks
    • Scrapblog - Combines the purposes and multimedia features of blogging with the visual affordances of scrapbooking. Comes with built-in templates and can accommodate music and video too.

    • VoiceThread - Easy way to connect photos and voices--particularly useful for emphasizing language without ignoring visual (in FL classes, for example). Would also be great for capturing family history.

  • Slide Shows
    • - Use premade themes to create slideshows from your photos that you can embed in your blog or website.

  • T-shirts
    • - Type in a website and it will generate a word cloud for a t-shirt based on the most commonly used words on the site that you can customize.

  • Websites
    • Google Page Creator - Choose a template, enter your text, and publish your page with this free, easy-to-use, online tool from Google.

Disseminating the Findings

If the tools in the above section aren't interesting to you, or if you need more information, try one of the options below. (Note these links will take you to another wiki.)

Key Principles of Graphic Design

Basic Principles of Visual Design - A one-page PDF handout that outlines the basic principles of graphic design (proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast) from The Non-designer's Design Book by Robin Williams that are explained in the site below

Text & Graphical Layout - FANTASTIC summary of the what, why, & how of basic principles of graphic design from the Non-designer's Design Book by Robin Williams. Beautiful design, solid visual examples and non-examples, each principle in its own tab, but all visible from the homepage.

Other helpful resources for teacher-researchers include:

Chiseri-Strater, Elizabeth, & Sunstein, Bonnie S. (2006). What works? A practical guide for teacher research. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. ISBN 0-325-00713-6. - chericem1 chericem1

See also: Grant Writing

Back to: Home, Inquiry-Research-Reflection, November 30