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ENGLISH Level One: Achievement

Standard 1.9
Use information literacy skills to form conclusion(s)
Credits: 4

“What’s the issue?”

Student Instructions Sheet

Often the books we read deal with big issues – issues of life, death, religion, violence,
prejudice and identity, to name only a few.

In this activity, you will do further research into an issue that you have already encountered
in your English programme. You will gather information, record your findings, assess how
strong your information is and complete a final report. Your teacher will help you to identify
some of the issues that you have encountered in the texts you have studied.

You will be assessed on how well you:


• gather and process information
• form conclusions in a final written report.

Both steps are part of the standard. Non-achievement in one step will result in
non-achievement in both.

Gathering information
When you gather information, you will
• ask a number of key questions
• select appropriate strategies to locate and process information
• gather appropriate information from sources such as books, the internet, interviews,
questionnaires, television and direct inquiries,
• collate your gathered material in research logs.

Forming conclusions
When you form conclusions you will
• write up your findings in class as a report, drawing conclusions and making
judgements based on the material you have gathered.

Your teacher will show you models to help you plan, research and record your findings.
You will complete work in class and for homework. Your teacher will guide you on how
much time you have to prepare the task.

You need to use the templates which are provided to assist you in meeting the standard.

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Task 1: Completing a research plan

a) Your teacher will assist you in selecting an issue to research.


This issue will be connected to a text you have studied in English this year.
You may not complete your research on a subject used in any of the exemplars.

b) To focus your issue, brainstorm and decide on at least THREE key questions you
want your research to answer. Make sure these are open NOT closed questions.

A Note on open questions and closed questions


A closed (poor for this task) question is one that leads to a short, one word or one
sentence answer.
An open (good for this task) queston is one that leads to a rich discussion and answers
that take lots of sentences to answer.

CLOSED (poor question): What percentage of New Zealanders are obese?


OPEN (good question): Why are more New Zealanders obese in 2010 than twenty years
ago?

c) For each key question, brainstorm key words associated with the question. Key words
will help you locate information.

Look at the Task 1 exemplar (page 4) as an example of how this research plan should
be done.

Task 2: Select appropriate strategies to locate and process the information

You must find relevant material for your research. There are a number of ways to do this:
• Interviewing people
• Reading books in the library
• Internet searches
• Searching through databases
• Listening to radio interviews
• Watching documentaries

You should also take time to work out if the material that you have is good material or not.
If you interviewed another student about a health issue, they would give you their opinion.
If you then interviewed a doctor, they would also have an opinion. You must take time to
work out which material is better – in this case, the views of the doctor are probably more
accurate, because they are trained in the area of health.

There are some easy steps you can take to find out if your material is good material or not.
• By typing websites into www.wolframalpha.com, you can see WHO OWNS a particular
website. This will help you to work out if you can ‘trust’ a website, and the facts on it.
• You can type the names of authors and directors into Wikipedia.org to find out if they
know a lot about the area you are researching.
• You can use a website like www.imdb.com to see how many movies a director has
made – to see if they know a lot about a particular subject.

Look at the Task 2exemplar (page 5) as an example of how this should be done.

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Task 3: Gathering information and recording the process

You must include a range of texts. To achieve this, try to include at least one oral, one
visual, and one written source.

If your chosen issue was obesity these could be...

• The Fat boy (Written text – short story)


• Supersize Me (Visual text – film)
• Katherine Ryan and Tony Ryall interview (Oral text – radio interview)

Gather information relevant to your key questions from a range of sources.

For each step (eg trip to the library, search on the internet, phone inquiry) you take in your
research process, record what you did in the Research Log.

Look at the Task 3 exemplar (page 6) to see how these should be done.

Task 4: Organising and presenting the information

Once you have completed the research process your teacher will assess your work
against the criteria for process. You cannot write the final report until you have
satisfactorily completed the process.

Submit your process work attaching the Teacher Checkpoint sheet (Template A).

Your research report will be completed in class, under controlled conditions over
several periods. You will need all your process work with you in order to
summarise it, draw your conclusions and make judgements.

Your research report is expected to be between 300 – 500 words.

Use your key question template and research logs to develop a report on the results of
your research.

In your report you must state:


• your issue
• the questions you addressed
• the steps you took during your research
• the key information you found
• conclusions and judgements you have made

Before preparing and presenting your report, look over the extracts from students’ reports
from research projects. This will help you organise your material.
You may not use any of this material in your own research.

Look at Task 4 exemplar (page 8) to see how these should be done.

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Task 1 Exemplar: plan research, pose key questions, identify possible sources
Teacher: ______________________
QUESTION 1
BRAINSTORMING TEMPLATE 1:
What are the key causes of obesity? RESEARCH PLAN
KEY WORDS:
Exercise, calories, diet, nutrition, sugar, fat.
TOPIC

“Obesity”
QUESTION 3
How can society overcome obesity?
POSSIBLE SOURCES KEY WORDS;
Operation, balanced diet.
WRITTEN :
QUESTION 2
What effect does obesity have on Survey
Short Stories
people? Screenplays
Novels
KEY WORDS: Depression, anxiety, diabetes, Non-fiction books
fitness, self-image.
ORAL :

Interviews
Songs

VISUAL :
Films
Documentaries

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Task 2 Exemplar: Select appropriate strategies to locate and process the
information

Name: ____________________________________
Teacher: ____________________________________

Date How good were my texts?


05/05/10 I watched the documentary Supersize Me, directed by Morgan Spurlock.

I typed ‘Morgan Spurlock’ into www.imdb.com. This website indicated that he had
07/05/10 produced five films on dieting and eating. He had also appeared on TV
programme called “50 best documentaries” – which rated Supersize me as
amongst the best documentaries to have been produced in the 21st Century. I was
able to establish that he knew lots about the topic of diet and obesity.
07/05/10 I found an article on obesity in New Zealand, from the Ministry of Health website,
and then read this.
09/05/10 I placed the name ‘Tony Ryall’ into google, and then typed site:nz. This took me to
the National Party website, where I was able to read some background
information on Tony Ryall. His background is in Business and he has only
recently become Minister of Health. There was nothing to suggest particular
expertise in the area of health.
I used www.wolframalpha.com and typed in http://www.moh.govt.nz/obesity into
13/05/10 this search engine. Using this tool, I discovered that this website is owned by the
New Zealand government. From this I deduced that I was able to trust the site.

15/05/10 I read In Defence of Food, by Michael Pollan


16/5/10 I typed the name ‘Michael Pollan’ into Wikipedia, to read about him, and work out
how much he knew about food and obesity. Wikipedia told me that he had written
about five books on food and dieting. From this I concluded that he is
knowledgeable on the topic of obesity

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Task 3 Exemplar: collate your gathered material in research logs

Details of source:
Source: Non-fiction book – In Defence of Food
Creator: Michael Pollan
Publisher/Owner: Barnes & Noble
Date of publication: January 2008

SUMMARY: Write down relevant information linked to your key questions.

1 What are the key causes of obesity?


Michael Pollan tells us that processed food is a major cause of obesity. He argues
that when we process the food (e.g. putting things in cans), we strip all the
nutritional goodness from it. As a result, our bodies need us to eat more and more
food to be nourished and we become obese. Pollan says fresh foods are at “the
peak of their nutritional value and flavor, [not] anything processed or
microwavable.”

2 What effect does obesity have on people?


According to the book In Defence of Food, when we become obese, we are much
more likely to become depressed. Pollan tells us that there is a link between
“dietary polyunsaturated fats and depression.” Therefore, the same food that is
making us obese also makes us depressed.

3 How can society overcome obesity?


Pollan argues that if we are to overcome obesity, we must “Eat food. Not too
much. Mostly plants.” There are three parts to what he says, and all three are
important for us to help lose weight. Firstly, we must eat ‘food’ – fresh food – as
opposed to highly processed substances (like chippies and canned food).
Secondly, we must eat LESS food ‘not too much’. Finally, we must re-balance our
diets, replacing meat with salads and vegetables – ‘mostly plants’.

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TEMPLATE A: TEACHER CHECKPOINT NAME: ______________________

This needs to be kept with your research material and available when your teacher asks for it.

Process checked Date checked Teacher comments and suggestions Teacher signature
Research plan completed and satisfactory

Strategies are being used to collect and


process information

Information being gathered

Information being gathered

Information being gathered

Information being gathered

Process criteria Criteria met (Teacher signature)

Research plan states topic, poses key questions and identifies possible sources

Strategies are being used to collect and process information

Information being gathered

When all criteria are met, you are eligible to proceed to the write-up of the final report

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Task 4 Exemplar: Write up your findings in class as a report, drawing conclusions and
making judgements

Use information skills to


Exemplar – Excellence (extract) form perceptive conclusions.

The attitudes towards food that people have are a key cause of obesity. Many people
believe that when we eat GOOD food, we can eat as much of it as we like. This idea is
leading to over-eating and therefore to obesity. Michael Pollan’s book In Defence of Food
talks about this concept a lot. Pollan says “the low-fat diet Use of SPECIFIC evidence
craze made everyone fatter. When you cut out one thing, indicates that the conclusions
like fat, you end up eating more...” He indicates that we lower have come from information
our guard when we think food is low-fat, and therefore eat lots literacy skills
and lots of it. His solution is equally simple: “eat food. Not too
much.” While eating less might sound like an obvious thing, it
Student forms
does go against the attitudes that we hear all the time: ‘up-sizing’
perceptive
conclusions meals, ‘30% extra for free’, ‘buy-one, get-one-free’ or ‘two for the
price of one’. What all of these advertising campaigns help us to
believe is that having 30% more food is desirable. The message that
we can fight obesity would have been obvious to our Student forms
perceptive
grandparents. However, currently, this message gets lost among
conclusions
advertising campaigns, and foods disguising themselves as ‘low
fat’.

Note: to reach excellence, you must be PERCEPTIVE. To be perceptive, you have to make
observations that are true and intelligent. You have to be able to make clear sense of
complicated things. If the things you are saying are OBVIOUS, then you can’t reach
excellence.

Exemplar – Merit (extract)


One key cause of obesity is too much fast-food. In his
This is a good
strong point, though
interview with Katherine Ryan, Health Minister Tony Ryall said
not perceptive. “New Zealanders are eating more Lots of evidence
take-away foods than ever before. helps this student
Over 70% of New Zealanders admit to eating take-aways be convincing
more than twice a week.” Ryall then said that this take-away
food has “a much higher proportion of fat” than the food that we cook in our own homes.
Morgan Spurlock agrees with the thought that fatty fast-food leads to fatty people. In his
film Supersize Me, he tells us that “my mother cooked dinner
every single day. Almost all my memories of her are in the Lots of evidence
kitchen. And we never ate out.” This contrasts children today, as helps this student
Spurlock says “Today, families do it all the time, and they’re be convincing
paying for it... not only with their wallets, but with their waist-
lines.” Spurlock’s whole film sets out to reveal that when we
eat too much fast-food, we become fatter. Eating at home is a Good strong
far better option. When we eat at home, we know what we are explanation of the
eating. This is because we have been standing in front of the point helps make this
pot adding ingredients. However, when we eat take-aways, convincing.
often we don’t know how much fat there is in the food.

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Because we don’t know how bad it is for us, we get fat from eating it (and eating it
too often.
Note: for Merit you must be convincing. The point this student is making is
reasonably obvious, but it is a true point, and is very well argued. Lots of
Exemplar
evidence and– Achieved (extract)
a strong explanation help this student to be convincing.
One cause of obesity is lack of exercise. According to the
This student has drawn a
simple conclusion about Healing Daily website, “...exercising on a
Good use of quotes
the link between exercise regular basis...” helps you “...maintain
help to prove they
and obesity your weight.” This article tells us that when have used
we exercise we are less likely to become information literacy
overweight because we burn off fat. Lack of exercise results in us to draw conclusions
becoming obese because we don’t burn off fat.

This student has drawn a


Another reason for obesity is too much sugar. An article by
simple conclusion aboutDr. Paul S. Auerbach on the Better Health website tells us
the link between sugar
America is “...a nation stricken with an Good use of quotes help
and obesity
epidemic of obesity... linked to to prove they have used
consumption of sugar intake, and in particular, sugar- information literacy to
sweetened beverages.” This shows us that too much sugar leads draw conclusions
to obesity.

Note: for Achieved, you need to use information literacy skills to form conclusions. This
student has made formed some conclusions. The quotes that the student uses demonstrate
that they have used information literacy skills.

Exemplar – Not Achieved (extract)


There are lots of causes of obesity. One There is NO evidence to
This student has drawn is too much sugar in our diet. When we support the conclusions,
a good strong eat too much sugar, our bodies cannot therefore no suggestion that
conclusions about the store it, and we turn it into fat. This the student has used
causes of obesity. makes us obese. Another reason we information literacy
become fat is that we don’t exercise.

This student has made formed some conclusions. However, there is no evidence that they
have used information literacy skills to gather information. This student did not use their
research to support their conclusions.

Exemplar – Not Achieved


According to Michael Pollan, in his book
This student not drawn In Defence of Food, “Americans are
Good use of quotes help
any conclusions about eating too much food and it is making
to prove they have used
the material they have them sick.” He goes on to say “American information literacy to
presented. children are much fatter than they were
ten years ago.”

This student has gathered information and is presenting it to us. He quotes an expert in the
area of food and obesity. However, he does not draw conclusions.
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Assessment Schedule: Eng/1/9

Descriptor Example
Achieved, merit, Task 1: Completing a research plan Refer to exemplar
excellence • Use information literacy skills

Task 2: Select appropriate strategies to locate Refer to exemplars


and process information
• Use information literacy skills

Task 3: Collate your gathered material in Refer to exemplars


research logs
• Use information literacy skills
Achieved Task 4: Organising and presenting the Refer to the Achieved exemplar
information
• Use information literacy skills to form
conclusion(s).
Merit Task 4: Organising and presenting the Refer to the Merit exemplar
information
• Use information literacy skills to form
convincing conclusion(s).
Excellence Task 4: Organising and presenting the Refer to the Excellence
information exemplar
• Use information literacy skills to form -
perceptive conclusion(s).

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