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Carson Graham Library: Investigation

Carson Graham Library Learning Commons


Social scientists use inquiry processes and skills to ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions.

Social studies: Investigation

The first step in any investigation is to choose a topic within the larger topic your teacher assigns. Your investigation should be related to the statement of inquiry.

(See below for grade specific guidance)


After you think about answers to the above questions, you need to build your background knowledge on the topic.  This allows you to pose a good question to investigate. 

Build your background knowledge by accessing general sources through the library libguide.   

Grade 8 statement of inquiry: What we create, invent and innovate reflects our changing view of humanity and the world.
  • What do you know about the inventions, innovation, and ingenuity in the Renaissance? 
  • What do you wonder?
  • What do you want to learn?
Grade 9 statement of inquiry: Systems provide structure and order in human, natural, and built environments.
  • What do you know about the systems the Indigenous people created to sustain their lives on the land we now call Canada?
  • What do you know about systems used by Europeans during colonization of Canada?     
  • What do you wonder?
  • What do you want to learn?
Grade 10 statement of inquiry: 


Now that you know a little something about the topic, you can pose your own question to investigate. Download the word doc "Research question template" below which will walk you through the process of writing a research question.

Grade 8 topic: invention, innovation, and ingenuity in the Renaissance (key concept: change)

Grade 9 topic: Omàmiwininìwag People & the French seigneurial system during colonization of Canada (key concept: systems)

Grade 10 topic: conflict and cooperation (key concept: global interactions)

Skilled researchers locate reliable and appropriate information sources when seeking information to answer to their questions.  We want the most accurate information available on our topic.  Information in books, encyclopedias, and databases is usually accurate. 
We think critically when we access information that does not go through a rigorous fact-checking process by asking ourselves a series of questions to evaluate the reliability of information.  Evaluating the reliability of information on the internet is especially important.


  1. Who or what organization is the author or editor of this information? 

  2. What makes this author trustworthy? Are they an expert in the field?

  3. What is the author's goal for sharing this information?  What is their bias?

  4. Do you see any errors?  (Chances are if you can see one, there are more.) 

  5. Is the information current?

  6. What makes this a good source for your current research task?

Researchers aim to be effective and efficient; we want appropriate information in as little time as possible.  To be effective and efficient, we collect information in a systematic way, so we can organize ideas and formulate answers to our research questions. 
When we decide to collect information from a source, we document the location of that information source before taking notes. This is called citing sources or referencing. 
Effective researchers cite sources of ideas and information out of respect for others and because we are principled people with integrity.  We use a recognized format at Carson Graham like MLA or APA.
Noodletools is an excellent tool for citing sources, taking notes and organizing ideas in a systematic way.  We strongly recommend you use Noodletools when you conduct research.  The Carson Library pays for accounts for every student and teacher at Carson Graham.  Click MLA or APA for account access instructions and support.