1. Questioning | 2. Learning | 3. Synthesis | 4. Story-Telling | Six Traits of Effective Writing

The Biography Maker

Captain Cook

2. Learning About The Person

Now that you have determined the questions you will explore, it is time to consult several different sources in order to gather and develop answers.

To do a careful, thorough job, you will want to consult all of the following:

- A Book

If you can, find one or more printed books in the school library devoted to your person. When it comes to biography, books are often better sources that digital resources. They tend to provide more detail and more depth. They are often written by real scholars rather than fans and amateurs.

Enter findings in your research file under the appropriate question.

- An Encyclopedia

Do a keyword search (not topic search) for your person and read more than the main article. See where they are mentioned in other articles. Summarize key findings and type them into your research file.

Click here for a list of online encyclopedias from Yahoo.

- A Periodical Collection

Does your school subscribe to a good periodical (magazine) collection? If so, do a search for your person. You may wish to save any good articles as text files in your folder. Summarize key findings and type them into your research file. Note: You may not find much on historical figures in current magazines and newspapers.

The Internet

Visit sites on the Internet and add to your research file when you find information that casts light upon your questions. Use the advanced version of Google to narrow your search, taking advantage of the exact phrase search, for example, to find specifics about your person, such as the navigational skill of Captain Cook.

Click here for the advanced version of Google.

You might try putting your person's name in the exact phrase box and other items such as "biography" or "failures" or "achievements" or "disappointments" in the main search box.

Be careful because many of the biographies posted on the Internet are done by amateurs and students. How will you know which ones to trust?

And then . . .

Once you have enough information to begin pulling your answers together, move on to the Synthesis page.

Some icons are courtesy of Jay Boersma's site

Copyright Notice:
The copyrights for these materials are held jointly
by Jamie McKenzie, their author, and the Bellingham Public Schools.

© 1997 and © 2005

These materials may not be duplicated or published elsewhere, electronically or on paper or any other medium.