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Research Skills: Home

Research is...

“Google is not

a synonym for research.” 
                                                          Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol

re·search

Systematic investigation or inquiry aimed at contributing to knowledge of a theory, topic, etc., by careful consideration, observation, or study of a subject. http://www.oed.com/

The Research Process

Remember, when you are conducting research, the two most important questions to ask are:

WHAT'S MY QUESTION?  HOW MUCH DO I KNOW?

Depending on your question and how much you know about your topic will determine which resource is the best one for you to use.

If you know 0-25% of your topic, choose a REFERENCE source.

If you know 25-50% of your topic, choose a BOOK.

If you know 50-75% of your topic, choose a DATABASE from the approved list on this page.

If you know 75-100% of your topic, choose a SEARCH ENGINE like GOOGLE on the INTERNET. Use the SEARCH terms and phrases from your DATABASE searches in your GOOGLE search. Use what you know about your topic already to weed out useless or wrong information. But first, check the approved Featured Websites located on each page.

0-25% REFERENCE

A REFERENCE could be a print encyclopedia, atlas, dictionary or thesaurus, or a digital source like a database or World Book Online. Here you will learn the basics of your topic, fast facts and vocabulary words that you can use later as search terms.

25-50% BOOK

A BOOK could be a print book, an e-book, a digital textbook, or an audio book. A BOOK in any form is usually more specific than a REFERENCE source. Here you will add details to the basic information you have already learned and begin to connect your basic facts together. Remember, you may have to look in the table of contents or index of the book to find out where information is located specific to your topic.

50-75% DATABASES

DATABASES are organized, searchable sources of information, often available only with a subscription. Beyond that, a database can be anything: images, videos, articles from magazines or videos, or collections of print encyclopedia information. Even though you access them through the INTERNET, DATABASES have more specific information than what you will find just GOOGLING your topic. Here you will find more current information on your topic using the vocabulary words your learned from your REFERENCE and BOOK sources as your SEARCH terms. Ask us for the login and password information so you can access EBSCO at home.

75-100% SEARCH ENGINE

Specialized Search Engines

Featured websites that have been vetted