Researching Your Community Health Issue

Purpose of the Activity:

  • To have students learn as much as they can about their health topic
  • To have students become better at the research process
  • To prepare for creating their PSA


Teaching Considerations

  • Students are working in production teams on the same topic. How will you have them share the responsibilities for doing the research to insure both that each student is contributing and that they aren't working at cross purposes?
  • How much time is a reasonable amount of time to work on this part of the unit? You want to give students enough time to do a thorough job of researching, but not end up with idle time.

Desired Outcomes:

  • Process: Students better understand the nuances of research
  • Product: Research Plan
  • Product: Health Topic Research Journal
  • Process: Students develop in depth understanding about their health topic
  • Process: Students decide on the most important facts to inform the public about their topic.

The Process

Total time frame: 3-5 Project Blocks

Steps 1-5: Beginning Research

Please follow the directions at the PBL+MM Beginning Research site:
Whether working in groups or independently, once students have chosen project topics they may have trouble getting started on the research. This exercise will help students prepare a plan for researching their topics using brainstorming, group discussions, and progress updates (both oral and written). Teachers and peers will have the opportunity to review research plans and provide valuable feedback to the students. Teachers and students will also have documentation of students' early plans to compare with updated or final research plans for assessment of student progress.

Resources for Student Research:

Step 6: Furthering the Research

Now that students have begun their research, have students answer the following questions:
  1. After doing some preliminary research on your topic, did you find evidence that your local government is concerned about this health issue?
  2. What community agency, public or private, is concerned with this health issue?
  3. What programs exist in your community related to this health issue?
  4. Do you have any personal contacts in the community that might provide your group with support or information for this project?

If students don't have answers, this should guide their continued research.

Throughout Steps 5 & 6: Conferencing with Students

While students are researching their topics, schedule time to conference with each student. Look over their research journal. Talk with them about what strategies they are using to find information. Help them use other strategies, if they are having difficulty. Talk with them about what they have learned. What has surprised them? What do they think is interesting? Talk with them about what information they still need to find, prioritize that list, and come up with a plan to track it down.

Step 7: What are the most important things for the community to know

Have students make a list of the 4-6 most important things they believe the public should know about their topic.
Have students