Once you’ve identified a community issue that you want to help change (see “What is a community issue?” page) it is important to learn more about your issue. You can learn more through research!
What is research?
Research is the process of collecting information about a topic or subject. In this case, it means looking up information about your issue that will help you better understand it.
To do your research, you will need to look at multiple sources. A source is a place from which you gather information. There are many different types of sources, including:
- People in the community
Which type of source do you think will be most helpful for your research? Why?
Activity: Researching Your Issue
Now it’s time to research your issue!
To prepare for doing research, you need to make a list of questions you have about your issue. These questions will guide what information you look for and what sources you read. Here are some sample questions to ask as you begin your research:
- What community issue/problem do I want to solve?
- When did this issue become a problem in my community? If this issue has been a problem for a while, what was done in the past to try and make a difference?
- Tip: Talk with your family, teacher, or others in the community about how this issue has impacted your community.
- Tip: Ask your teacher or library/media specialist if there is a website for your local newspaper. You may be able to search through past articles.
- Who is impacted by this issue?
- Is there a person or group in my community already working to solve this issue? If so, what are they doing and what can 5th graders do to help them?
- How common is this issue in other towns and cities in Connecticut and what facts or statistics show this?
- Tip: If you are running for Kid Governor, be sure to select an issue that impacts communities across your state. Students in other communities will want to vote for an issue that impacts them too.
- Tip: Reach out to your local, state, and national elected officials to see how this issue impacts communities. As your teacher or an adult to help you contact elected officials!
- USA.gov will help you find your town’s website. On your town’s website, you will find the names of your local elected officials and their contact information.
- Open States will help you find the names of your state representatives and state senators and their contact information based on where you live. You can also find information for statewide officials like the governor and secretary of state.
- The United States House of Representatives website will help you find your Representative in Congress. The United States Senate website will help you find your Senator.
- Are there currently any laws about this issue?
- What steps can kids across my state take to improve this issue in their communities?
- What will be different when my work is done?
Download the Research Worksheet to help you with your research!
- Books: Check your school and local public libraries for books about your issue.
- Websites and videos: Ask your school librarian what databases and websites you can access from school for research. You can also try Britannica Kids, Kidtopia, and Sweet Search.
- Newspapers: Read through your local newspaper (or their website) for local articles about your issues. Ask your school librarian if your school has a subscription to websites such as Newsela, Time for Kids or News-O-Matic.
Remember to download the Research Worksheet!
Learn more about how to research your community issue in this video: