Do some general reading on your topic to gain basic knowledge of your subject
Watch this video on Google Advanced Search. Note: since this tutorial was made, you find the Advanced Search menu in a different location
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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.
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.
RefSeek: RefSeek 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.
USA.gov: federal, state and local government sites.
infoplease: Atlas, Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Google advanced search will produce better results than "Googling"