Research musings

The focus of Course One : Week Two was based on the ISTE for Educators Learner standard indicator 1c – Staying current with research to improve the teaching and learning in your context.

In addition, some of the readings and resources centred on teaching research skills to our learners, which would align nicely with the Citizenship ISTE Educator standard, 3b, which centers on the critical examination of online sources, building digital literacy and media fluency.

In a connected world, research should fall on your lap…

I like RSS feeds (Feedly’s my preference), sure, but Twitter and knowing some Boolean Search basics are fundamentals in today’s age.


Just recently, I was catching up with a friend who is currently doing some Master’s research. He mentioned he was struggling to find information for his literature review. Whilst listening, I threw out my advice (EBSCO, KQED, etc.) and also tweeted this to my connections on Twitter. Within 24 hours… the skies opened up for him! My tweet put him in touch with experts locally and abroad, as well as links to some great published papers.

Developing, curating and being an active participant in professional learning networks (PLNs) pay their dividends when it comes to times like these. They are, almost always, my first port of call for any major wonderings (after I’ve done some searching as well).

Google Ninja Skills

Whenever my kiddos and I do some info report writing and/or work on our research skills, I usually run a workshop around some of Google Ninja Skills (a top 10 curation).


In addition to some Google Ninja skills belt upgrades, it’s crucial to teach kids about TRAAP (aka as CRAAP, for lack of a better acronym) testing their resources. In a world of deep fakes, fake news and more, this is a super important litmus test to teach and apply to any resource.

After watching the video linked above, here are a few resources that I use with my kiddos:

MISO Research

And whilst we’re talking about research, it is worth mentioning the MISO method, championed by the service-learning guru, Cathyrn Berger Kaye. We were lucky enough to bring her in as a keynote speaker in a pre-pandemic, face-to-face, professional learning conference with my current employer.

The MISO method is such a great scaffold for building action research skills.

MISO stands for media, interview, survey and observation. It gels lovely with design thinking, too! Here are some resources that I find helpful in regards to MISO:

How about you?

  • How do you curate research to push to you?
  • What skills or tools do you use to make the curation of information a breeze?
  • What are some skills that you teach your learners to develop their research skills and be critical consumers of information?

Some other resources related to this topic worth sharing:

5 Replies to “Research musings”

  1. Hi Justin! Thanks so much for sharing all these helpful resources. I loved your “Google Ninja Skills” presentation. Hope you don’t mind that I made a copy to share with my grade 7 EAL students. Our next unit is centered around finding out information about a topic and creating a video essay – and the “Ninja Skills” slideshow provides a clear overview into how to search for info more effectively.

    I was also fortunate enough to attend a workshop with Cathy Berger Kaye a few years ago. I thought the MISO model was awesome as well, and a great way to broaden students’ ideas about what research is and can be. Our grade 7 social studies students participate in the National History Day competition, and we talk about MISO when they do the research part of the project.

    Your post also made me think of an interview I heard on Tan Huynh’s Empowering ELLs podcast. In the podcast, Elly Tobin talks about how to use Quick Writes to tap into students’ prior knowledge of a topic, and then have them share that knowledge as a starting off point for generating questions and learning more.

    Here’s the link if you are interested:

    Thanks and take care!

  2. Hi Justin,

    Thank you for the wonderful post with so many great resources! I really enjoyed the Google Ninja Slides. This week’s course really helped me to see that I need to be doing more to help my students grow in their online research skills. I have been overestimating their skills especially with knowing how to find reliable sources.
    I think my students could really benefit from the TRAAP video.

    Thank you again,

  3. Hi Justin

    I’m just coming back home from sports, only 2h Badminton per week. And now I was looking at all coetailer’s to finished my comment homework for that week.

    To be honest I don’t have a twitter account. I have a Facebook account which I didn’t using anymore. And my daughter is playing a game on the iPad where she is talking to other kids/ people.
    What do i wanna say is, I’m not to old for twitter but I grow up with Facebook and I think in the future there will be, actually there exist already many other ways to ask question or to communicate.

    I think research is very important and all people should get the same possibilities to use ist.

    I looked your TRAAP and MISO information. For TRAAP I never heard about it. For MISO, we have something very similar/ same just in German.
    I (learned) got a lot information from COETAIL (resources) from the the people here. And it is sometimes like MISO 98% same and like TRAAP totally new for me.
    In our Kindergarten we are using a book ( Bildungsschnecke) to classified what our kids can and what they still need to learn (painting, cutting, sports, … and social skills too) with more than 100 questions. If they understand, all right, if they don’t understand or just understand half of it, we know what we have to do – we can use that to make a “research “(teaching) for the kid for themselves.

    Our Kids research “can be anything” – for example water and ice
    Our Kids research with us (teacher) together – we talk about animals big – small
    we are (teacher) research with documents the kids to make sure know and can do for her ages!

    = every one can make “research” – step by step – our kids are 3-6

    I hope you can follow and understanding my meaning. We offer our kids research and we “research” in the same time the kids for the next level.

  4. Hello Justin!

    I really enjoyed reading your research musings! It does demonstrate the strengths of professional learning networks. There is much to learn from anyone and everyone if we connect! This motivates me to try to connect to others online.

    I loved all of your resources on teaching kids research skills!! The Google Ninja Skills Google Slides got straight to the point and showed what they needed to do. We also teach our kids how to use Boolean Search. However, I am still thinking of how to motivate them to use it on their own. When we gave our kids a search challenge, they ended up copying and pasting the whole phrase or sentence.

    I liked how the TRAAP table guided kids through each of the criteria for TRAAP and show their thinking and reasoning. Since they are often free to roam online on their own, they must know how they can evaluate websites with fake news and information.

    I haven’t heard of the MISO method before. I read through all of your resources, and it was extremely useful. I like how MISO provides kids with further support in their research and makes the research humane. It brings research to life and reminds kids that research isn’t just facts and numbers on the screen. Previously, this was something that I had struggled in conveying to my kids when going through the empathise, definition and ideation phase. They had difficulties in using their research to ideate something for their user. The MISO method would definitely help organise and visualise their research.

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