K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learn more about research cycle

Alternatives to the animal report
In Rethinking Reports, page 2.1
Year after year, students are assigned an animal report, a factual report on a species of their choice. My son chose the Harpy Eagle for his third-grade animal report — and proceeded to re-submit that report with only slight modifications for years thereafter!...
By Melissa Thibault.
Water and Weather
From just looking at cloud formations to building a weather station, this sampling of resources help students learn all about climate, weather, and the water cycle.
Format: bibliography/help
Plant and Animal Interdependence
Plants and animals depend upon each other for survival. These model resources explain the importance of this delicate chain of life.
Format: bibliography/help
Plants and Trees
This selection of resources helps teach students about the importance of plants and trees to animals and humans. They also explain how how they grow, their structure and the elements they need to flourish.
Format: bibliography/help
More than just a rainy day: The water cycle
Students will identify water sources in the school environment in order to understand the origins of our water and to gain perspective about the students' place in the water cycle. Students will learn about the water cycle using a variety of resources and discover connections between the water cycle and the water that they use every day.
Format: lesson plan (grade 5 English Language Development and Science)
By Kelly This and Leigh Thrower.

Find all 42 resources in our collection.

Research method that emphasizes information problem-solving and positions students as information producers (versus information consumers). Students repeatedly revisit stages in the research cycle as they refine data gathering processes.

See also Big6, I-search, scientific method.

Additional information

The research cycle was developed by Jamie McKenzie in 1995. Emphasis is given to the initial development of questions to clarify and establish subsequent steps in the research process.

The research cycle is composed of seven stages:

  • Questioning: student clarifies information needed and leads to elaborating questions
  • Planning: student identifies likely sources of information
  • Gathering: student collects pertinent information for consideration
  • Sorting & sifting: student sorts and sifts in search of information that contributes to understanding
  • Synthesizing: student arranges and rearranges information in search of patterns and/or a clearer picture
  • Evaluating: student determines what information might be missing and repeats earlier stages of the research cycle in search of better, clearer information
  • Reporting: student reports findings or recommendations.

Examples and resources

The research cycle is elaborated by its developer at The Question Mark.