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The Playful Path to Information Literacy - Empowering ELL Students through Interactive Instruction: The Research Recipe

Hello and welcome to the guide that accompanies our presentation for CCLI!

How It Works

The Research Recipe


Learning Outcome: Students will understand the basic steps of the research process


The Activity

tl;dr – Using several ingredients to make a meal is just like finding and using information for a research project.


A good research project should incorporate complementary resources that all add something of value to an overarching conversation. After deciding on a topic to explore and a research statement or question to limit your aim, the sources you find should all work together to answer it or provide more clarity about it.


Eating is a fundamental part of daily life. Food provides energy, which then provides humans with the ability to live. Everyone has a basic understanding of food preparation, regardless of if they are a fan of fast food, microwavable meals, or cooking fancy dishes that incorporate skill and several ingredients. One of the most basic meals that is cross cultural is salad. There are salads that consist of greens, pasta, protein, etc. There are also salads served hot and cold. There’s a high probability that a person has eaten some type of salad in their lifetime.

In this activity, groups of students will create a green salad using ingredients given to them on cards. Some of the ingredients are fundamental to the salad, whereas others are merely toppings. Additionally, some ingredients may not belong in a salad and should be avoided. On the back of each ingredient card is a source of information (ex. scholarly article, website, blog, book, etc.) While making their salad, they should keep in mind that the sources should be related to a predetermined example research question: “How does sleep impact the GPA of college students?”

The final product should be an edible salad/a research process that uses complementary ingredients/resources. Students will be called on to discuss what their salads look like. They may not all look the same, as some students may not want to use certain toppings, and others might want to incorporate inedible items like Legos or orange juice (for some illogical reason.) As each ingredient represents a piece of information, this should create a dialogue about how cooking with multiple ingredients is comparable to performing good research.

Files for Reuse

Photos in Action

an image of undergraduate students discussing props in an information literacy activity

This group is talking over what they would like to include in their salad.

an image of the front side of an information literacy prop

The front side of one of the "recipe" cards

an image of the back side of an information literacy activity prop

The backside of a corresponding "recipe" card.

Terms of Reuse

Creative Commons CC BY SA License Logo 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. We encourage reuse of any materials on this guide.