How to help DS with research type homework

(7 Posts)
redskytonight Mon 18-Apr-16 12:47:00

DS is in Year 7 and somehow is still clueless about how to manage homework that involves research. For example, he has current homework to write about various places of worship. He has had it drummed into him at primary school that he doesn't just copy off Wikipedia. However his approach is instead to find a webpage with roughly the right information on, change a few words and sentences about and copy the rest out. He considers this to writing in his own words.

I have no idea how he's got to Y7 and failed to work out how to tackle this sort of homework and evidently none of his teachers have picked up on the rampant plagiarism either.

I think I need to go back to basics and show him how he should be tackling this sort of task - but short of telling him how I would do it don't know where to start!
Any hints?

TeenAndTween Mon 18-Apr-16 13:05:06

My suggestions, for what they are worth:

Get your DS to write down what he ideally wants to know:
e.g.
- What is each religious building called
- what does one look like on the outside
- what do they look like on the inside
- do worshipers sit / stand / kneel
- what decorations

Then research with those specific questions in mind. But also with an open mind as to other interesting facts.

Lay out a table or questionnaire sheet before doing the research so info can be written straight in.

Good practice to always record sources at the end.

Put KS3 in the keywords search. Stops the university level information.

Buy an encyclopaedia / other reference books and make him look there first.

If it is not written using his usual style then it is plagiarism. (I had problems with DD understanding this too)

wol1968 Mon 18-Apr-16 13:17:23

OP, your DS sounds very like mine. Except mine can't copy out the words in the right order. grin More to the point, this shows everything that is wrong with expecting 'research' from kids whose ability to comprehend, assimilate and remember what they read is still very basic indeed. TeenandTween's suggestions about breaking stuff down into question/answer sections is good, and in fact some of the better teachers at DC's school do give them quite detailed guidance about what to include.

MedSchoolRat Tue 19-Apr-16 21:31:13

mmmm... rewording what I read in the Encyclopedia is how we did research when I was a kid, too. It's not so crazy. Try to get at least two sources. Sometimes I actually have real books that the kids can get notes out of; yr7 DS did a report on the Arctic Fox recently, just paraphrasing facts out of my (beloved ancient) animal encyclopedia.

I write original scientific papers for a living now (honest), so really, this was a reasonable way to start.

FinallyHere Tue 19-Apr-16 21:49:52

Oh, teen i like that advice, thank you very much.

CheeseAndOnionWalkers Fri 22-Apr-16 07:42:34

My y8 adds "ks3" to any search term so she finds a page that lists the facts that her teacher expects to see.
This means that the first link os often the BBC website.

CheeseAndOnionWalkers Fri 22-Apr-16 07:45:16

Watching a video and writing what you learned from it is also popular with her. She might need to Google the "technical" words (in your case an example might be gurdwara) but listening then writing prevents plagiarism unless they write the script word for word.

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