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Independent Inquiry (I-Search) Packet

Ms. Robinson / Mr. Behrsing -- Spring 2016


What is an I-Search study?


Unlike a more formal research project, this study is firmly rooted in the “I” perspective. The goal is to investigate something you truly want to find out about, and to view your findings with a personal reflective lens. In many papers you will be assigned in other courses, the use of the “I” narrator is not considered appropriate. However, in this type of inquiry, you, the writer, will actively engage with your research journey; you will reflect and analyze, using “I.” The research journey is active and personal and may even be strongly connected to aspects and memories of your life experience. This study is considered a personal narrative journey, a story, rather than a persuasive or explanatory essay.


Some ideas to keep in mind:

  • Your topic may be of personal interest, but connected to issues raised in texts we have read in English 11. Language and presentation must be public and appropriately academic, while remaining personal.

  • All resources must be documented on a Works Cited page in MLA format.

  • You will be asked to begin and then add frequently to an I-Search blog, in which you document all of your steps, findings, and reactions/thoughts as you proceed on your research journey. Blog entries should be detailed, frequent, and consistent.  We will compose many of these blog entries together in class, referring to models and exemplars illustrating the expected depth and complexity, and we will frequently engage in self, peer, and teacher reflection and formative assessment. Blogs will eventually be shared with external audiences; all material published to your blog should meet basic expectations of proofreading and presentation.  Draft it in a word processor first, and get a second set of eyes to proofread as necessary.

  • You will compose a paper which tells the story of your inquiry process, your findings, and your learning in a unified, summative way.  This paper must be written in such a way as to appeal to a general public audience, who may or may not know anything about your topic.

  • You will assemble and deliver a formal summative presentation on your inquiry process, your findings, and your learning to a panel of adult community members.


The intent is for this investigative inquiry to be student-centered. To help you achieve success, on the following pages you will find a framework of steps to follow your project to completion.


ELO #1: I can comprehend, interpret, analyze, and evaluate a wide range and level of complex literary and informational texts.

ELO #2: I can produce clear and coherent writing for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

ELO #3: I can conduct a sustained research project based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

ELO #4: I can demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage.

ELO #5: I can initiate and participate effectively in a range of discussions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives and expressing ideas clearly and persuasively.


Distribution of resources:  you are expected to find and use a minimum of nine informational resources, to  include:


  • 1 additional book (aside from assigned course texts)

  • 3 sources in print (can be accessed through database)

  • 3-5 Internet sources - no more/less

  • 1 audio/video source

  • 1 primary source (in-person interview, first-hand site visit and observation, or experience)


Deviations from these requirements need to be cleared through discussion with your teacher.


Please note – You may need to look into, and read about, many more sources than this.  You will have some time, and you should use it, to locate the best and most relevant sources for your search.  To the extent that you can, within the time available and the other constraints on your life, strive to become an expert on your topic.



Week 1 (week of 3/14)


Develop and select topic and focus questions

Begin blogs; post questions

Gather resources; build provisional Working Bibliography

Establish Works Cited page


Week 2 (week of 3/21)

ELO#1 - Indicator A, Indicator B


Write an objective summary on first source and post to blog; self-evaluate

Write an analysis of purpose and point of view on second resource and post to blog; self-evaluate

Continue building Provisional Working Bibliography



Week 3 (week of 3/28)

ELO #1 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C ELO #3 - Indicator B, Indicator C


Write an objective summary and analysis of purpose and point of view on third resource, post to blog

Peer response to blog posts; teacher feedback & revision

Write a blog post that summarizes, analyzes purpose and point of view, and assesses the relevance, strengths and limitations of your fourth resource.


Revisit and reflect on suitability of questions; revisit working bibliography; select new or discard previously selected resources as applicable; document process in blog.


Week 4 (week of 4/4)

ELO #1 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C ELO #3 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C, ELO #4


Gather more resources.

Write a blog post about your fifth resource that connects and analyzes ideas presented in previous blog posts.


Polish and edit blog entries to link from Hazen’s blog and Hazen’s Facebook page

Self-assessment, reflection on process



Week 5 (week of 4/11)

ELO #1 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C ELO #3 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C


Write blog post about sixth resource, combining ELOs 1 and 3


Write blog post about seventh resource, combining ELOs 1 and 3


Feedback and revision on blog posts


Visit peer blogs; offer feedback and questions; revise and edit


Week 6 (4/25)

ELO #1 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C ELO #3 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C


Revisit and reflect on suitability of questions; revisit working bibliography; select new or discard previously selected resources as applicable; document process in blog


Write blog post about eight resource, combining ELOs 1 and 3


Write blog post about ninth resource, combining ELOs 1 and 3


Feedback and revision on blog posts


Week 7 (5/2)

ELO #1 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C ELO #3 - Indicator A, Indicator B, Indicator C


Visit peer blogs; offer feedback & questions; revise and edit


Editing & publishing interlude: edit & polish previous blog entries to update links from Hazen blog, Hazen Facebook page


Peer Reflection conversation


Week 8 (5/9)

ELO #2, ELO #3, ELO #4


Drafting your paper

MLA in-text citations



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Week 9 (5/16)

ELO #2, ELO #3, ELO #4, ELO #5


Response & revision to the paper; begin constructing presentation (this may include a sample reading, quotes from sources, multi-genre items, a demonstration, reflections on your process and your findings, etc.)


Week 10 (5/23)

ELO #2, ELO #3, ELO #4, ELO #5


Final edits on paper; finish presentation


Week 11 (5/30)

ELO #5


Dry-run / mock panel presentation -> reflect, revise


Week 12 (6/6)

ELO #5


Present to panel