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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

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 Destiny One Search

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.

Watch a quick video on getting the most from your Destiny search

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.

USA.gov: 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.