How do I learn more about a community issue? 

Once you’ve identified a community issue that you want to help change (see the 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:
  • Books
  • Websites
  • Videos
  • Newspapers 
  • 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 research:
  • What is ________________? (name of community issue)
  • 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?
  • How is my community already involved in making a difference on this issue?
  • Does this issue also impact other communities in my state?
    • 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. Ask your teacher or 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 senator 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 Senators. 
  • Are there currently any laws about this issue?
  • What steps can I take to improve this issue in my community?
  • What steps can kids across my state take to improve this issue in their communities? 

Download the Research Worksheet to help you with your research!

Once you’ve decided on your research questions, you can begin looking for sources to help answer those questions! As your teacher or school librarian to help you find books, websites or other sources that will provide reputable information.


Resources

  • Books: Check your school library and local public library 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 issue. Ask your school librarian if your school has a subscription to websites such as Time for Kids or News-O-Matic.

Remember to download the Research Worksheet!


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