Research, Research, and More Research - Planning the Documentary


In this lesson, students are introduced to the diverse methods of research required to create an informative documentary. Students use this knowledge to begin researching to identify and process evidence to support their thesis created in Lesson 2 "Take A Stand" as well as their counterarguments. Students also explore visual, sound, and story elements of documentary films.


"Research, Research, and More Research"

This is the third of four lessons in the project based unit "Changing the World, One Documentary at a Time" where students learn about documentary while completing their own documentary production requiring students to present an argument, research, and a call to action. In this lesson, students are introduced to research techniques and review visual, sound, and story elements. Students conduct research for their own productions. Students begin to formulate how they desire to tell their story.

Materials suggested for this Lesson

  • Student Handouts printed before each lesson
  • Other traditional class materials such as Chart Paper, Markers, Pens, and Highlighters
  • Computer with Internet
  • Google Doc Access (computational device)
  • Mic such as a Zoom Mic or BlueSnowBall or alternative sound capturing device. Recent Smart phones work well for sound capturing devices.
  • Editing Software such as Adobe Premiere Pro. Industry standard editing tools are preferred to completely control sound. Feel free to use other editing software if needed.

Lesson Times

What is Documentary Research
10 Minutes
Digging Deeper into Research
30 Minutes
Now You Research
100 Minutes
Getting Ready for Production- Your Thoughts
20 Minutes
Essential Script Elements I
50 Minutes
Essential Script Elements II
50 Minutes
From the Experts
30 Minutes

Industries / Subjects / Grades

Industries / Pathways
  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment Arts, Media, and Entertainment
K-12 Subjects
  • English-Language Arts
Grade Levels
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Standards and Objectives


California English Common Core Standards (2)
California's 2013 CTE Standards (2)

Related Instructional Objectives (SWBAT...)

  • Students will be able to discuss visual, story, and audio elements of documentary.
  • Students will be able to discuss the importance and kinds of research for documentary.
  • Students will be able to identify and process sources to support their thesis and counterarguments.

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