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Updates:

Feb 16, 2011:
A new version.

Library links:

Maine's Virtual Library

Maine's Virtual Library


MaineCat

A Service of Maine Info Net


American Library Association Great Web Sites for Kids

American Library Association


Other links:

The Big 6

Research

Four Steps to a Successful Research Project*

Step 1: Getting ready, preparing

NOTE: Do you know exactly what you have to do? If not, ask your teacher. Then follow these easy steps.

Step 2: Searching for the information, accessing

Now you have some search terms and keywords. Where do you start looking?
NOTE: Has your teacher told you that you must use different resources? If so, keep that in mind as you choose what to use.

Search Tips:

  1. Know what you're looking for - If you want information on chickadees, don't type in birds. Be specific!
  2.  
  3. Put words in quotation marks - If the words must go together, put them in quotation marks. "Maine Black Bears" will bring up the Maine Black Bears, the athletic teams which represent the University of Maine. Not putting quotations will give you information about the animal and the nc.
  4.  
  5. Capitalize - Capitalizing a proper name will increase your chances of getting what you want. China will give you the country; china will give you sites on dishes!
  6.  
  7. Check your spelling - Most search engines will look for exactly what you have written. Pionear homes might not give you log cabins while pioneer homes will.
  8.  
  9. Use connecting words - Using the word "and" will ensure that both words you are looking for show up in the same web page. For example, using "Patriots and football" would bring up a New England football team founders of our country. Using the word "or" means that you are searching for sites with either word eg.: leopards or panthers.
  10.  
  11. Try other words - If one set of words don't help, try some of the other ones you wrote down.
  12.  

Now you've found lots of sites. How do you decide which are the best ones? Go through this checklist first: If you cannot answer the questions below, you cannot rely on the accuracy of the information.

 
  1. Who put this information on the Internet?
  2.  
  3. When was it put there? Is there a date on the page?
  4.  
  5. Is the information meant to be serious, or is it a joke?
  6.  
  7. How do you know where this information comes from?
  8.  
  9. Is the information biased? Does it give only one opinion? Are there links to other sources?
  10.  
  11. Who is the information meant for?
  12.  
  13. What type of information is it? Is it scientific or amateur level?
  14.  

The Quick Quality Information Checklist and their eight ways of checking information should help you judge websites. 

Step 3: Getting the information, processing

More help for homework research: You have lots of places to look for information. What's the best way to keep track of it all?

How to write a research paper

Infoplease | Infoplease provides excellent help in how to write a research paper.

Research Helper | Sandra Hughes and her Research Helper provides a good source of information on the research process.

How to cite sources?

Son of Citation Machine | Citation Machine provides an interactive tool to help create reference citations for research papers. Includes various print and electronic resources.

Fact Monster | Fact Monster has some useful research tips about creating citations and a great deal more.

Easybib | Easybib automatically cites works in bibliographic format from MLA, APA and Chicago/ Turabian citation styles.

Purdue OWL | These OWL resources will help you conduct research using primary source methods, such as interviews and observations, and secondary source methods, such as books, journals, and the Internet. This area also includes materials on evaluating research sources.

OttoBib | OttoBib.com is a website with a free tool to generate an alphabetized bibliography of books from a list of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) with output in MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, BibTeX and Wikipedia format. Each query also generates a permalink which can be used to recall the bibliography without reentering the ISBN data.

Step 4: Getting it on paper, transferring

The research is done. How are you going to present it?

Types of Presentations

Squires Elementary School Library in Lexington, Kentucky | The Squires Library presents a big list of different kinds of things that are possible in presenting your research.

*The above outline and ideas are modeled on the Toronto Public Library and their Kidsspace Research Guide.