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IGCSE Global Perspectives - Individual

Research Guide
Focusing the Research on an Issue:

Getting started: use background or immersion knowledge of an area of study to

begin your investigation. What do you already know? What more would you
like to know? Immerse yourself into the area of study through articles, films,
discussion, or other means.). Write about your background knowledge and / or
your reaction to immersion activities. This can serve as the basis of the
introduction to the individual research later.
Formulating a good Focusing Question: develop a good research question that
requires you to take a stand on an issue after reviewing the relevant facts. This
is your Focusing Question. The question should zero in on a specific issue
within the area of study and require you to form, and show, an opinion.
o Possible Focusing Question templates:
How important is (access to free education / protecting coral
reef / awareness of the causes of climate change / the use of
diplomacy /...)?
Whose responsibility is it to (protect coral reef / combat
climate change)?
Do the benefits of (advancing technology / factory farming /
patent laws / urbanization / globalization / access to cheap
goods...) outweigh the disadvantages?
What is more important: (the right to free speech or a nations
security /conserving energy or making renewable energy sources
Should (education be considered a right or a privilege / people
have access to free drinking water / animals have the same rights
as people / freedom of speech ever be limited, and if so, why...)?
Formulating Supporting Questions: Supporting Questions are those designed to
guide a researcher in finding the facts will shape and support the answer to
your Focusing Question.
o If your FOCUSING QUESTION under the area of study Technology and the
Economic divide is Do the benefits of the availability of cheap
goods outweigh the detriments? then you would need the answers to
a few secondary questions to develop and support an informed opinion:
Economic Perspective (personal, local global): what are various
methods used to produce cheap goods? Who might benefit from
the profusion of cheap goods? Who might be put at a
disadvantage? (this last question might lead a student to look at

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both a community in which people shop and work at places like

Wal-Mart, just as it might lead a student to look into labor
practices in developing countries, and the student might then link
these two perspectives together).
Environmental perspective (personal, local, global) : what impact
does the production of the cheap, disposable goods my family
uses have on the environment? (Students might then look into
factory pollution, use of resources, disposal of cheap goods.
Health perspective (personal, local, global): questions might
investigate the safety of cheap goods as well as the effect
consumerism might have on mental well-being).

Stating your Opinion: Once you have gathered and analyzed the information
collected to answer these questions, write out the opinion you have formed in a
sentence or two. This is your Thesis Statement (claim, or main idea). The final
aim of your research is to support the thesis statement. A possible thesis
statement for our Focusing Question might be:
o Cheap, mass produced disposable goods can present huge
benefits in terms of convenience and affordability, but these
benefits are small in comparison to the damage that our
dependence on cheap goods does to our environment, to
peoples health, and to the worlds poor.

Information Gathering / Bibliography:

Use reliable sources:

o When compiling information for a study, use reliable, verifiable, and
trusted resources, such as, but not limited to
Articles from major news sources and professional journals
Government websites
NGO websites
Clips of relevant T.V. news, documentaries, podcasts...
o Always question a source, even if it appears reliable. Check a source
against other reliable sources. Facts should be verified and / or
debated before accepted by a researcher.
o Do not rely on
Yahoo answers
Websites created for school projects etc.
Any site on which information can be contributed by any
random person
Any site on which the information comes in the form of a
comments section, unless for the purpose of collecting a
random sample of peoples beliefs or attitudes toward a
specific issue.

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Searching tips:
o If you cannot find what you are looking for, change the key words of
your search term. If you find what you are looking for in Wikipedia,
go a step further and open the links to the sources Wikipedia used.
These are likely to be reliable sources that have the same information
in the Wikipedia article.
o If the source is too complicated for you to understand but you think it
is relevant, ask for help or find a different source that is easier to

Analyze and Present:

Never copy information directly from a source into your coursework. That is
plagiarism: presenting someone elses work as your own.
o Note information shorthand instead, and then incorporate the
information into your work in your own words. Do not just switch out a
few key words with synonyms.
o If you must use a part of someone elses work, do it sparingly and cite
the source. This use of someone elses work will be apparent by your
use of quotation marks and proper citation at the end of the quote.
Use real examples to demonstrate your points or illuminate perspectives.
These real examples should come from the excellent sources you have found
and studied.
Analysis should emphasize multiple perspectives of the issue you are
The issue you are investigating is your Thesis.
A basic outline for presenting findings might be:
o Title:
o Introduction
Use the writing from the focusing stage to form an introduction.
This can be an explanation of why you chose the area of study, a
relevant personal anecdote, a summary of your knowledge of
issues under the area of study.
Transition to your topic.
State your question.
o Body
Show analysis of the issue through facts and real, relevant
examples, representing the global, national and personal
o Conclusion
Your Thesis Statement, as the result of your analysis, is your

Possible Scenarios / Futures:

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Identify a broad range of scenarios based on the evidence you have collected.
Evaluate the likelihood of possible outcomes (effects).
o If this cause continues this way, the effects may be...because...How
likely is this?
o But if the cause is altered by this action, the effects may
be...because... How likely is this?
o But then if this happens instead, then the effects might
be...because... How likely is this?
Possible modes of expressing this step could be
o Artwork or Comic strip
o Cause-effect chart
o Detailed, organized, multi-level bullet-point list (as in this document).
o A well-written paragraph for each course of action, descriptive narratives
or poetry.

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Formulate Possible Courses of Action

How might some of the problems surrounding the issue be solved or altered? A
detailed proposal might include
o What the action is
o Who would perform or organize the action, and why
o What resources or support that person or those people would need to
carry out the action
o What impact the action might it have
Formulate at least three courses of action. Think personal action; local /
national (community or political) action; global (community or political) action.
Possible formats for presenting these course of action could be
o Detailed, organized, multi-level bullet-point list (as in this document).
o A well-written paragraph for each course of action.
o Paneled comic strips.

Develop Evidence-based, personal response, demonstrating selfawareness

This step can be interpreted in many ways, but an adequate response to this
step could be to:
o Discuss or show how completing this study changed the way you feel or
think about the issue, or how it made you more aware of the impact you
personally have on the issue. Give reference to the specific parts of the
research that have strongly influenced this effect.
This response would already be interwoven into a well-constructed
study; this step is then a summary of that response. A written
paragraph, comic strip, song, artwork, poetry or other modes
could be used to present this step.

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Complete Process Overview

The steps for completing the study, discussed in this document, have been as follows:
1. Choose an area of study based on interest, background knowledge, or in
reaction to information presented in class, at home, in the news, or by other
2. Write what you know about this area of study, including personal connections.
3. Develop a Focusing Question.
4. Formulate supporting questions you will need the answers to in order to form
an informed opinion in answer to your Focusing question.
5. Find the answers to your supporting questions through reliable internet sources
that have been checked against other reliable sources. Your sources should
represent various perspectives and discuss specific, real word examples. Create
a bibliography for all of the sources that will shape your study.
6. Analyze and evaluate the information (facts) you have collected.
7. Write your opinion in the form of a thesis statement.
8. Plan, draft, and present your analysis, (using writing from step 2 as an
introduction), showing how the facts support your thesis statement. You should
follow the conventions of good essay writing, although you are encouraged to
choose other modes of expression as well.
9. Identify possible futures.
10.formulate courses of action.
11.Develop evidence-based personal response.

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Bibliography Page Formatting, MLA Style

(What information do I need to record?)

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Internet

Here are some common features you should try and find before citing electronic
sources in MLA style. Not every Web page will provide all of the following information.
However, collect as much of the following information as possible both for your
citations and for your research notes:

Author and/or editor names (if available)

Article name in quotation marks (if applicable)

Title of the Website, project, or book in italics. (Remember that some Print
publications have Web publications with slightly different names. They may, for
example, include the additional information or otherwise modified information,
like domain names [e.g. .com or .net].)

Any version numbers available, including revisions, posting dates, volumes, or

issue numbers.

Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.

Take note of any page numbers (if available).

Date you accessed the material.


An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the Web magazine
in italics, publisher name, publication date, medium of publication, and the date of
access. Remember to use n.p. if no publisher name is available and n.d. if not
publishing date is given.
Bernstein, Mark. "10 Tips on Writing the Living Web." A List Apart: For People Who Make
Websites. A List Apart Mag., 16 Aug. 2002. Web. 4 May 2009.

Basic Format for Book Sources

The first-give authors name or a book with a single author's name appears in last
name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:
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Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.

Medium of Publication.

Book with One Author

Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987. Print.
Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. Denver: MacMurray, 1999. Print.

Book with More Than One Author

The first given name appears in last name, first name format; subsequent author
names appear in first name last name format.
Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston:
Allyn, 2000. Print.

Book by a Corporate Author or Organization

A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, or a group that does not
identify individual members on the title page. List the names of corporate authors in
the place where an authors name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.
American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. New York: Random, 1998. Print.

Book with No Author

List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would
with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might
appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.
Encyclopedia of Indiana. New York: Somerset, 1993. Print.

A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection

Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a
book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:
Lastname, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection. Ed. Editor's Name(s). Place of
Publication: Publisher, Year. Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.

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Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias,

For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the piece as
you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information.
Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the
volume or the page number of the article or item.
"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed. 1997. Print.

Article in a Magazine
Cite by listing the article's author, putting the title of the article in quotations marks,
and italicizing the periodical title. Follow with the date of publication. Remember to
abbreviate the month. The basic format is as follows:
Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Periodical Day Month Year: pages. Medium of

Buchman, Dana. "A Special Education." Good Housekeeping Mar. 2006: 143-48. Print.

Article in a Newspaper
Cite a newspaper article as you would a magazine article, but note the different
pagination in a newspaper. If there is more than one edition available for that date (as
in an early and late edition of a newspaper), identify the edition following the date
(e.g., 17 May 1987, late ed.).
Brubaker, Bill. "New Health Center Targets County's Uninsured Patients." Washington Post 24
May 2007: LZ01. Print.
Krugman, Andrew. "Fear of Eating." New York Times 21 May 2007 late ed.: A1. Print.

Personal Interview
Personal interviews refer to those interviews that you conduct yourself. List the
interview by the name of the interviewee. Include the descriptor Personal interview
and the date of the interview.
Purdue, Pete. Personal interview. 1 Dec. 2000.

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