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Meet Strand 7: Inquiry & Research

A focus on reliable sources and avoiding plagiarism highlight changes in the research strand and changes in our society

As with the other six strands, the meat of the standards has moved out of the knowledge and skills statements and into the student expectations.

The basic tenets of research haven’t changed. Students will need to generate research questions, critique research, follow and refine their plan as necessary, locate sources, synthesize information, draw conclusions, present their research, and use appropriate formatting. But there are some key areas where there is increased focus.

Sources: In the old TEKS, students needed to gather or compile different sources (the language changes at each grade level). This lives in one student expectation. But in the new TEKS, the concept of sources lives in multiple SEs (student expectations). Students must: locate relevant information from a variety of sources, differentiate between primary and secondary sources, examine sources for reliability, credibility, accuracy, bias, etc., as well as the use of faulty reasoning.

Plagiarism: There is also a student expectation devoted to plagiarism starting in third grade: recognize the difference between paraphrasing and plagiarism when using source materials. Plagiarism also comes up in the SE for citation starting in 9th grade: display academic citations, including for paraphrased and quoted text, and use source materials ethically to avoid plagiarism. Notice the addition of the word “ethically.”

Presentation: Multimodal has been added to written and oral presentation options.

The clear focus on quality sources and plagiarism reflects the new nature of our research practices. There is an immense amount of information now on the internet, and it is a challenge for everyone to sift through the reliable and the unreliable. We live in a world where inaccurate information spreads like wildfire on social media. This might be the most important strand for today’s students, but it is often the most overlooked. I challenge you to embrace your role as someone who helps ensure our democracy flourishes. Helping students master the standards around sources isn’t just about their research projects – it’s about their daily consumption of media. My sincere hope is that inquiry and research doesn’t live in the last unit of the year, but is instead integrated throughout, so students gain the skills they need to be effective members of a vibrant democracy.

Let me know your thoughts!

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