Creative Teaching & Learning

‘Snowballing’ as a Method for Finding Research Sources

This is the conclusion of a three-part series on helping students tackle long-term, independent learning projects at Sixth Form level. In this article Andrew Shenton and Melanie Wood expand on the processes involved in ‘snowball sampling’ to provide students with tools to search for and locate reliable and relevant sources.

The problems and some solutions

One of the biggest challenges faced by many young people when tackling independent learning assignments in the upper phases of secondary school, where the work involved is undertaken intensively over a prolonged period of time, lies in maintaining impetus after their initial enthusiasm has passed and they feel that the sources they had earmarked at the outset for examination have been exhausted. This may be a particular issue in large-scale studies associated with, for example, the Extended Project Qualification or the Historical Investigation at Sixth Form level. No doubt most teachers will have developed counter measures for responding to such problems. 

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