I sometimes think I harp on this too much, but honestly, one of the best skills we can arm students (and everyone else) with these days is the gift of being able to research. The ability to recognize a good source and a bad source. The ability to cite where information was found so it can be verified by others. The ability to verify or disprove hypotheses and theories. Information literacy is a very necessary life skill.
Sadly, research is like math. So many students believe that they don’t need to learn it, and yet they use research skills every single day as they use Wikipedia to settle arguments with friends or use a search engine to figure out how to make their MySpace profile blink. They do research without ever realizing that’s what they’re doing (not unlike how they use math).
For the most part, I really like like this list of research tips. It covers the basics of getting off to a good start in conducting research. My only complaint is that Wikipedia is suggested as a valid starting point for conducting research. Longtime readers know that I’m against Wikipedia as a primary research tool, but it can help give you a direction when you’ve exhausted other avenues of research, as long as you remember you’ll have to do extra research to confirm or deny what you’ve found in the article.
Learn to conduct good, solid, defendable research!