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What is scaffolding?
Educational scaffolding refers to the process of providing temporary supports for learners to guide them towards achieving a goal or completing a complex task.
Scaffolding can take many forms. One type of scaffolding is called process scaffolding, where a complex task, such as a research paper is broken down into smaller, more manageable parts.
Scaffolding a Research Assignment
|Assignment Ideas for Each Stage
|Selecting a topic
- Identify a broad topic area
- Develop a research question
- Develop a thesis statement
|Finding background information/Presearch
- Refine a broad topic area
- Revise initial proposal, thesis or research question based on information gathered during presearch
- Concept mapping
- Class discussion to share findings on a topic, changes to research focus, questions that have arisen
- Annotated bibliography
- Research log/journal
- Analyze a single article in depth
- Compare and contrast discussion of a topic in different types of sources (scholarly vs. popular)
- Critique a source
- Investigate a scholar/scholar biography
- First draft
- Peer review
- Final Draft with: self-assessment or research reflection
|Selecting a topic
Students often have considerable difficulty selecting a topic and coming up with an appropriate research question.
- Provide a list of broad topics for students to select from so that they do not feel overwhelmed and spend less time choosing between topics.
- Spend time working with students on coming up with researchable questions. Show examples of weak research questions, and work as a class to improve the research questions.
- Provide students with sources to use for their paper, and have them focus on evaluating and analyzing the sources rather than on searching for sources
- Provide students with a single source with an extensive bibliography to use as a jumping off point. Demonstrate how one source can lead to many other sources.