Research Model

FLIP it!™ , created by Alice Yucht, is a simple, easy to use research framework. With fewer, but broader stages than other research models, FLIP it!™ is an easily understood and compact model for students and teachers. While this is a research model, it is also a problem solving framework and can be used to address issues along the way as well as across the entire project.

...on the problem What question do you have? What problem do you have to solve? What is your focus for this assignment?
...with the information Now that you know the question, where can you find information to help find the solution?
...and process the information Now that you've got the information, how will you select the best or most appropriate information?
...a demonstration of your learning Now that you've sorted your information, how can you demonstrate your learning?
Intelligent Thinking
... about your work and assessing whether you've done what is necessary to complete the task Now that you've completed your product, is there anything you can improve or do differently next time to be more effective and efficient?
If... Then... also represents a reflective questioning syntax, "if you know X, then your next step is Y."

FOCUS (^top)
The first stage of this research process involves focusing on, and refining the study topic. Concept maps are useful in this exercise. Selecting a topic, brainstorming possibilities, then focussing on the possibilities to add detail.Learning how to focus on a topic will prevent students from taking on huge and unmanagable topics. A conversation with a student on focussing may look like this:

What do you want to learn about?

What kinds of things could you research about airplanes?
Well, there are lots of different kinds of planes. Maybe why they fly, or how to fly them. I'd like to know how they get all the suitcases on the right plane. Oh, and the difference between helicopters and airplanes might be interesting too.

Excellent thinking, you have several ideas there. Which one interests you the most right now?
Um, I don't know, maybe how they fly, or why some of them look so different.

OK, there are two ideas. What do you know already about those topics?
Well, I know that fighter planes look different from the plane I was on when we went to Toronto. And I saw a bunch of weird kinds of planes at the Air Show last weekend. There were some really cool planes there.

Why do you think they were all so different?
They're made to do different jobs i guess. Maybe I could do a project on some different kinds of planes and how they are designed specially for their job.

That sounds like a great topic.

LINK (^top)
After identifying the problem to be solved, or the question to be answered, the next step is to locate sources of information. Introduce this component of the research process with a brainstorming activity. Think up as many different sources of information as possible for a topic as a large group. In small groups, have students record the sources on index cards then sort them into groups according to a criteria of their choosing. Share groupings with the rest of the class. (current, dated, historical, unchanging, brief, indepth, portable, searchable, reference, age level, broad/narrow topic, fee/free, fast/slow, etc). Have students reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of sources with a goal to making them better able to connect information needs with appropriate information sources. Here is a sample brainstorm of possible sources:

Where can I look for information on airplanes?

  • Search the internet
  • Books
  • Library
  • Call airlines
  • Travel agents
  • Call a relative in the military
  • Ask relatives that have flown a lot
  • Job centers
  • E-mail government department of transportation
  • Air shows
  • Yellow pages
  • Encyclopaedia
  • Brochures
  • Newspapers
  • Museum
  • Science center

INPUT (^top)
Once you have gathered your information, the next step is to sort, organize, classify, sift through, interpret, synthesize, combine, compare, and select your information. Some of it will be more useful than others, some will be more accurate or timely than others. This is the stage where you determine what you will use and how you will use it. Here is a sample student sorting through his research and the thoughts he has as he examines his information and sources.

Sorting my Sources

  • Search the internet - I found a page on the NASA web site on new designs for flying machines that they're trying out. I know NASA works with this stuff all the time, so they're experts. It was updated last month too, so it is pretty current. It's pretty scientific and there are lots of words I don't understand in here so I don't really know what it's saying. There are lots of good pictures though.Maybe I can get some help with this source from the teacher or librarian.
  • Books / Library - I took out several books from the school library on airplanes. SOme of them have information on different designs, but there's lots of other stuff in there too. Mostly they are about planes were invented and how they fly. There's lots of little pieces of information in these books that I might be able to use. A couple of them are pretty old and don't have current information in them, but maybe I can use them to show how planes have changed over time.
  • Call Airlines - I was a little nervous about making this call. The teacher helped me write down questions before I called, and I practiced with her first. They said I could go on a tour of the airport with my parents and I'll get to see some different planes and what happens to all the suitcases when you give them at the counter! COOL!
  • Travel Agent / Brochures - I visited a travel agent with my dad at the mall. We got some brochures with some pictures of planes. Some of them have diagrams of how many people they will hold and how the seats are arranged inside.
  • Call a relative in the military - My aunt is in the air force and she told me about the different planes and helicopters they use when they do search and rescue missions. She told me a few stories about how they use the water bomber and the big helecopters.
  • Job centers - At the mall, I looked on that Job computer and found a bunch of jobs that pilots can get. I got a huge printout of them. Aereal photographers, crop dusters, tour guide, traffic reporter. I wonder if they all use the same kind of plane. I'll have to research some more to find out how the planes are different for each job.
  • Yellow pages - I found listings for flying schools, airports and companies that will fly you places. Standard Aero and Boeing both have offices in the city and I think they build planes. Maybe I can interview an engineer about the different planes.
  • Newspapers - I scanned the newspaper for articles that mentioned flying and planes. Found a few things about how they're used, but there wasn't much about why they picked those planes for the job. The newspaper has mostly stuff about what is happening in the world right now. I don't konw if this will be a good source for this project.
  • Museum - There are some old planes at the museum, and there is even an aviation museum in town that I'll try to visit. Hey, that reminds me, there are a few things around the city, like statues, of airplanes. I think they have write-ups on them. I'll stop and read a couple to see if there's anything useful there too. Maybe they'll have some old stories about what those planes were used for.

PRODUCT (^top)
Now that you are focussed, have gathered your information, and sorted through it to see what is the most useful, you are ready to produce something to demonstrate your learning.

Some questions you might ask when preparing your product.

  • Who is my audience?
  • Who will be viewing/reading/listening to my product?
  • What is the best way to present my information?
  • What is the most appropriate way to represent my discoveries?
  • What do I have to do with my product to meet the assignment criteria?
  • Will my product be easily understood by my audience?
  • What might the product look like in a different medium?



Well, not quite a half dozen. Of course, which research model you select is not as important as just deciding that you will use one. The more familiar you are with If you are already familiar with a different model, here's a quick reference chart to help you compare FLIP it!™ with other popular models.
Task Definition
Identify Question
Information Seeking Strategies
Identify Resources
Location and Access
Gather Information
Use of Information
Analyze Information
Interpret & Synthesize Information
Intelligent Thinking


Last updated: November 4, 2001 10:32
Webmaster: Miles R. MacFarlane
© 2001 K12 EdTech Consulti



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