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About the Research Models

Page history last edited by Amanda Lanza 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The BCPS Online Research Models (ORMs) and Slam Dunks are learner-centered digital research lessons designed to guide students through a structured inquiry process. The research models have been developed by collaborative teams of library media specialists, teachers, and content specialists since 1998. The structure and process for these customized lessons are informed by research-based information literacy process models including Guided Inquiry Design (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, and Caspari) and the Slam Dunk Digital Lesson (McKenzie). 


Students who use these self-guided online research lessons are challenged to engage in reading and the use of digital media; analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of information; and collaboration, communication, and creativity, using a variety of tools to build and present knowledge. The research models integrate disciplinary learning with the development of information literacy and 21st century skills. Lessons are aligned to relevant learning standards as described below.


Research models are supported by direct instruction from school library media specialists at identified "zones of intervention," based on the demands of the research task and students' prior learning.  Tutorials and teaching/learning resources are available on-demand in our BCPS Research Guides for Grades K-2, 3-45-8 and 9-12.


ORM & Slam Dunk Index: 
Elementary School  |  Middle School |  High School





Research Wordle


Hallmarks of the Online Research Models & Slam Dunks:


  • Engaging research scenario with real-world relevance, connecting students' lives and curricular content.

  • Resources for activating prior knowledge and building background knowledge.

  • Inquiry questions requiring analysis and synthesis of information from multiple sources.

  • Opportunities for critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity (the 4 C's).

  • Curated information resources & BCPS digital content in a variety of media formats (UDL-multiple means of representation).

  • Text at a range of appropriate reading levels.

  • Student choice of research topic, process (e.g. note-taking methods/tools) and/or product format (UDL-multiple means of expression)

  • Tools/options for organizing information.

  • Tools/options for creating a product/presentation and sharing new knowledge. 

  • Maker learning opportunities.

  • Resources for developing information/media literacy skills.

  • Formative/summative assessment and scoring tools.

  • Opportunities for student reflection on research process and content learning. 

  • Opportunities for students to extend their learning. 

  • Teacher resources for implementation.

  • Alignment to relevant learning standards. 





AASL Infographic 

Role of the School Library Media Specialist in Research Instruction:


Research shows that Librarians are essential instructional partners for facilitating students' development of research skills and related literacies:

  • “School librarians provide the blueprint for teaching students research skills, digital citizenship, safety online, and information communication skills.”  (AASL

  • "School librarians teach students how to be inquiring learners who evaluate and use both print and digital information efficiently, effectively, and ethically, with the goal of developing lifelong learning and literacy skills." (AASL) 

  • “Students value the library media specialist’s help in teaching unique skills not covered in the classroom —especially information, communication, and technology skills essential for students in the 21st century.” (Scholastic)

  • "The more often students receive information literacy instruction from library media specialists, the higher their test scores.” (Scholastic)





Common Core State Standards logo


AASL Standards for Learners book cover



P21 logo

ISTE Standards for Students logo


Learning Standards Aligned to Student Research:


The BCPS ORMs and Slam Dunks integrate learning standards relevant to student research and associated skills across content areas:


  • Common Core State Standards (2009) Standards for "Research to Build & Present Knowledge" at all grade levels.

    • "Research—both short, focused projects and longer term in-depth research—is emphasized throughout the standards but most prominently in the writing strand since a written analysis and presentation of findings is so often critical." 

  • AASL Standards Framework for Learners (2017) - Information literacy standards which guide school library media instruction, including the INQUIRE Shared Foundation. 
  • P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning (2007) - 3. Information, Media and Technology Skills: To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to create, evaluate, and effectively utilize information, media, and technology:

    • Information Literacy:

      • Access and Evaluate Information

        • Access information efficiently (time) and effectively (sources)

        • Evaluate information critically and competently

      • Use and Manage Information
        • Use information accurately and creatively for the issue or problem at hand

        • Manage the flow of information from a wide variety of sources

        • Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information

    • Media Literacy: 

      •  Analyze Media

        • Understand both how and why media messages are constructed, and for what purposes

        • Examine how individuals interpret messages differently, how values and points of view are included or excluded, and how media can influence beliefs and behaviors

        • Apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of media

      • Create Media Products
        • Understand and utilize the most appropriate media creation tools, characteristics and conventions

        • Understand and effectively utilize the most appropriate expressions and interpretations in diverse, multi-cultural environments 

  • ISTE Standards for Students (2016) - Standard 3 Knowledge Constructor: 

    • 3a - Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.

    • 3b - Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources. 

    • 3c- Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions. 

    • 3d - Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.

  • Content learning standards for academic subjects include standards for student research, inquiry, or investigation, for example: