Adapting the Star Grid to study a locality

Heather Govier
This article first appeared in MAPE Focus on Communications Summer 1999

The Star Grid ( can be modified to serve as a planning tool for any piece of research. This usually involves rethinking the prompts in some of the boxes, in particular where the information may be found and how it will be used.

The prompts here are tailored to the study of a locality, either in the United Kingdom or overseas.

1. What do I already know about this locality?

As usual, this is the best starting point for the research. Brainstorming as a whole class or large group generates the most ideas here. This knowledge is almost always greater than first assumed. For example all I could claim to know about Brixham is that it is a coastal town in the West Country. But, on reflection I do have some general knowledge of the characteristics of coastal towns (beach, fishing port, cliffs) and a few preconceived ideas about the West Country (tourism, climate, access problems). By combining this existing knowledge I am able to formulate some sensible questions.

2. What do I want to find out?

Of course the nature of the questions will depend on my purpose for studying the locality. If I am contemplating a holiday in Brixham I need to know:

However if I am contemplating setting up a business in Brixham I shall need quite different information.

And if I am thinking of moving to live in the area I need to know

3. What will I do with the information?

In studying any location children must establish at the outset what they plan to do with the information once it has been collected. This involves thinking about audience, materials and product.
The following five suggestions could be used for a study of any locality.

4.Where will find the information?

In addition to the usual reference materials, try:

5. How will I gather the information?

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