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Leadership Studies Research

ID 315: Community Builders Workshop

Brainstorming keywords

Doing research is a bit like detective work. You might find yourself going down a lot of dead ends until everything falls into place. Today we're going to brainstorm together the different perspectives that could inform the research we do for our annotated bibliographies.

We have two different sections of this class this term, be sure to choose the document that includes both your professor's name as well as your habit number.



Locating articles

One of the difficulties of researching local needs is as scholars, we sometimes forget that's it's our job to write our claims based on the evidence we find and not expect to see our claims written for us. If I'm working on a lesson plan surrounding Habit 3: Put First Things First for a middle school audience focusing on inclusion, I need to break apart my topic before any search is successful. While I may find some things on the open web, if I jump into the databases my professors and librarians are always encouraging me to use, I come up empty. This can be frustrating! 

If, however, I remember it's my job to find scholarly research on a variety of topics (middle schoolers, creating equitable schools, mentoring programs, leadership education, teaching diversity, etc), and then use that seemingly unrelated research to support my claims, I know each article I read is a piece of the puzzle I'm putting together. 

Multidisciplinary Database

Subject Specific Databases

Using clues from articles to further our research

We will be using the following article as a sample during today's workshop.

Helpful hint

As you find your own research, save both the citation and the permalink.

screenshot of permalink and cite buttons to the right of the screen in Education Resource Complete

Choosing articles for your annotated bibliography

  • Read the title, abstract, and conclusion.
    • If the article is too narrow or broad in scope, discard it.
    • If the article is in line with the question you were trying to answer OR gives insight into another way of thinking about your question, proceed to number 2.
  • Read the article critically (take notes).
    • What is the author's argument?
    • Does the author have the authority to make these claims? How do you know?
    • Is the argument valid? Is the methodology sound? 
    • How does the author contextualize their worldview or perspective?
  • Consider the reference section.
    • Reading the references can lead you to other useful resources. 
    • The references also can give insight into the disciplines the author has pulled from to support their arguments. 
  • Consider how this article might inform how you write your lesson plan.

Annotated Bibliography

What exactly is an annotation?

What does it exist?

  • AnNOT[E]ation--A note that comments on the source

What is the point?

  • To show you've read it, understand it, analyzed it, and applied it.
  • In a group project, these annotations help your group members see how your article fits into the larger project.

What are its parts?

Typically four parts, but always confirm your professor's requirements for the assignment.

  • Complete citation (use format required by the course)
  • Summarize: What was it about, and what were the conclusions?
  • Assess: The quality and usefulness of the source
  • Reflect: How the information contributes to your own research

Community research

The Waverly-Shell Rock School District exists within both geographic and demographic contexts. Understanding the places and peoples your students are coming from will help you meet the unique needs of the actual students in front of you. While middle-school may not feel that long ago for you, I promise, things have changed. Also, the school you went to had its own sets of norms and culture, go out of your way to learn the norms and culture specific to these students if you want to connect with them. 

This box contains links to national, state, and local information for students who attend WSR Middle School. 

This list is not exhaustive, but should be a jumping-off point!

Website searching: Helpful hint

Navigating government and nonprofit organization websites can be clunky for a lot of reasons. If you're having a hard time locating what you expect to be there, instead of the search bar on their website, use google. You can search a specific website or domain by using site:. command. 

screenshot of google search containing the site: domain limiter function

Contexts from local to national






Vogel Library, Wartburg College   |   100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA, 50677 |   Phone: 319-352-8500   | Email: