Resources for Researchers


The Student Toolkit  was designed and tested with government funding:

  • U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Steppingstones grant award #R324A100322.
  • U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Educational Sciences (IES) grant award #R324A100322.

The strategies for online research have been shown to significantly affect learning with all ability groups, including students with learning difficulties, and with middle school (sixth- through eighth-grade) students in case studies and quasi-experimental research.

Research and Publications


Over the past five years, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the University of Oregon College of Education has developed, tested, and refined nine strategies for effective and efficient online research.

These strategies are based on well-established, research-tested practices for teaching all students, particularly students with learning difficulties (SWLD).

The strategies emerged from two lines of independent research:

  • Dr. Lynne Anderson-Inman and colleagues at the University of Oregon's Center for Advanced Technology in Education studied how to use technology to help students improve reading, writing, and studying. They learned that students need explicit, step-by-step strategies to understand when and how to use information-organizing tools. This led to the development, testing, and refinement of “computer-based study strategies” and related materials for classroom adoption (Anderson-Inman, Horney, Knox-Quinn, Ditson, & Ditson, 1997).
  • Dr. Donald Leu and colleagues at the University of Connecticut’s New Literacies Research Lab studied the online reading skills of middle school students. They found that reading online required different cognitive and technical skills than reading on paper (Leu, 2000, 2002). They also found that students with high comprehension of traditional text were not necessarily skilled in reading online.

In 2010, Dr. Anderson-Inman and Dr. Carolyn Knox received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to refine the strategies, and to evaluate the strategies with teachers and students in classrooms that had not been involved in developing the strategies. With three years of funding, the strategies were revised and the Student Toolkit was pilot-tested in a middle school classroom in Connecticut.

The current Project S-SOAR is directed by Dr. Fatima Elvira Terrazas-Arellanes. The project has completed case studies and a pilot study in middle schools in Oregon, and is set to conduct a dissemination study in 2017.


Anderson-Inman, L., Horney, M., Knox-Quinn, C., Ditson, M., & Ditson, L. (1997). Computer-based study strategies: Empowering students with technology. Eugene, OR: Center for Electronic Studying.

Leu, D. J., Jr. (2000). Developing new literacies: Using the Internet in content area instruction. In M. McLaughlin & M. Vogt, (Eds.), Creativity and innovation in content area teaching (pp. 183–206). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.

Leu, D. J., Jr. (2002). The new literacies: Research on reading instruction with the Internet and other digital technologies. In J. Samuels & A. E. Farstrup (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 310–336). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.


Knox, C. H., Anderson-Inman, L., Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E., Walden, E., & Hildreth, B. (2015). The SOAR strategies for online academic research: Helping middle school students meet new standards. In Y. Rosen, S. Ferrara, & M. Mosharraf (Eds.), Handbook of research on technology tools for real-world skill development (pp. 68-104). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. .

Knox, C. H., Anderson-Inman, L., Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E., Walden, E., Strycker, L. A., & Hildreth, B. (2016). Strategies for Online Academic Research (SOAR): Digital literacy for middle school students. International Journal of Information Communication Technologies and Human Development, 8(1), 42-68. .

Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E., Knox, C., Strycker, L. A., & Walden, E. (2016). A face-to-face professional development model to enhance teaching of online research strategies. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 15, 335-367. .


Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E., Crocker, G., & Knox, C. (2013). The Stepping Up to SOAR (Strategies for Online Academic Reading) Toolkit. Poster presented at the meeting of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs, Washington, DC.

Crocker, G., Knox, C., & Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E. (2014). Savvy researchers for the 21st century – How an engaging web-based toolkit can help students achieve online research mastery to meet Common Core Standards. Session presented at the Oregon Department of Education Confederation of School Administrators (COSA) Conference, Eugene, OR.

Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E. (2015). New technologies inspire dynamic 21st-century teaching: Projects ESCOLAR & S-SOAR. Colloquium presented at University of Oregon, College of Education, Center for Equity Promotion, Eugene, OR.

Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E. (2015). Improving STEM Outcomes through Online Platforms: Projects ESCOLAR and S-SOAR. Training session at the Annual Summer Bridging Institute, San Antonio, TX.

Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E., Strycker, L. A., & Walden, E. (2016). SOAR Strategies for Online Academic Research: Achieving the Technology Core. Paper presented at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference, Orlando, FL.

Terrazas-Arellanes, F. E., Strycker, L. A., & Walden, E. (2016). A Face-to-Face Professional Development Model’s Feasibility and Effectiveness to Enhance Teaching of Internet Research Strategies. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, Washington, DC.

Terrazas Arellanes, F. E., Strycker, L. A., Moore, C., & Walden, E. (2017, April). Results of an online professional development model’s effectiveness in enhancing teaching of Internet research strategies. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, San Antonio, TX.