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Getting Started with Research: Search for Information

Sometimes the hardest part of research is getting started! Here are some tutorials and tools to help.

Search for Information

Search for Information

Create a list of questions about your subject, keeping in mind the essential questions

Create a list of keywords from the question list (topic words, synonyms, words with similar spelling)

Do some general reading on your topic to gain basic knowledge of your subject

Use search engines, library databases, ebooks, print and video

Check topic with your teacher

Search Library Databases

A to Z World Culturesoffers extensive information on cultures, customs, food, lifestyles, folklore, food, language, maps, and more on hundreds of countries.

A to Z World Maps: is the world's largest database of royalty-free, downloadable maps for academic and business (non-commercial) use. No other online resource offers so many maps in so many categories.

EBSCO: Offers magazines, newspapers, biographies, primary sources, photos, maps, flags and dictionary. Includes Academic Search Premier, GreenFile, HealthSource, and ERIC

Encyclopedia BritannicaAn online, continuously updated, encyclopedia with all of the quality information you expect from Britannica. Includes atlas, thesaurus and dictionary features as well as news and video clips.

Gale Biography in Contextdelivers outstanding research support with 600,000+ biographical entries — on more than 528,000 individuals — spanning history and geography. 

Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Contextis the premier online resource covering today’s hottest social issues, from Offshore Drilling to Climate Change, Health Care to Immigration. Opposing Viewpoints in Context helps students research, analyze and organize a broad variety of data for conducting research, completing writing assignments, preparing for debates, creating presentations and more.

Gale US History in Contextprovides a complete overview of our nation’s past that covers the most-studied events, decades, conflicts, wars, political and cultural movements, and people. Comprehensive, contextual, media-rich information is provided on topics ranging from the arrival of Vikings in North America, to the stirrings of the revolution, through to the Civil Rights movement, 9/11, and the War on Terror.

Gale World History in Contextprovides an overview of world history that covers the most-studied events, periods, cultures, civilizations, religions, conflicts, wars, ideologies, cultural movements, and people.

Gale Power Search: Search all of the Gale databases in one place.

Gale Science in Contextfeatures authoritative information for assignments and projects, and provides detailed coverage of popular subjects from earth science and life science, to space, technology, mathematics and science history and biography, Includes a section for math, engineering, and technology.

Gale Virtual Reference LibraryFull length reference e-books on many subjects.

Opinions Throughout HistoryUsing carefully chosen original documents that cover a wide time span, Opinions Throughout History weaves a thoughtful and easy-to-understand analysis of how public opinion is formed and evolves, starting the discussion at an historical, seminal moment, and ending with where we stand today.

Teen Health and WellnessInformation and resources on topics including disease, drugs, alcohol, nutrition, fitness, mental health, diversity, family life, and more.

Tips for Finding Information

Start with web based search engines (Google, Firefox) or general encyclopedias to gain some background knowledge of your subject. This stage of information gathering would be the only time that a site like Wikipedia would be appropriate to access. You want to gain a broad understanding in order to know which areas to investigate in more detail

Narrow your topic to one that will provide enough information (but not too much!) for the length of your assignment. A ten page paper requires a broader subject than a five paragraph essay. This is a good time to check in with your teacher to review your topic choice.

Compile information from Library Databases and Suggested Search Engines to use when gathering information for your paper. Information from these sources are reviewed and evaluated by experts and are more targeted and reliable than sources found on the open web.


Using Databases

Destiny is our web-based library browser providing access to the library's catalog and digital content. It is web-based so it can be used from any Internet connected computer.

Click here to access Destiny.

The video below shows you some of the features available in our Gale resources.

Suggested Search Engines

Google is not an efficient way to gather resources. For better results use these links or the Library Research Databases.

SweetSearch: Every Web site in SweetSearch has been evaluated by research experts.

iSEEK: iSEEK for education is a targeted search engine for students.

RefSeekRefSeek is a web search engine for students and researchers that aims to make academic information easily accessible to everyone. RefSeek searches more than one billion documents, including web pages, books, encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers.

BASE: Bielefeld Academic Search Engine. BASE is one of the world's most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources. BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library.

The Internet Archive: Large collection of digitized resources including many primary sources.

Google scholar: Academic and scholarly articles. federal, state and local government sites.

infoplease: Atlas, Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Thesaurus.

Google advanced search will produce better results than "Googling"

Finding Primary Sources

DocsTeach Explore primary documents compiled by the National Archives.

Destiny Collection of online collections of historical and primary source documents.

Google Advanced Search

Watch this video on Google Advanced Search. Note: since this tutorial was made, you find the Advanced Search menu in a different location

Need help? Ask Ms. Gadwah or email at

Why Databases?