Research Basics

Tools You Can Use To Make Your Project Better!

Before You Google....

One of the biggest mistakes that is made is not keeping track of your research. Go ahead and start a Google Doc with all the websites that you are using. You do not have to note everything, but if you copy and paste the URL from a WEBSITE, you can go back and get the information later. (This does not work with same with databases.)


Password: MMDDYYYY

Google Research and Google Scholar

  • Open Google Drive
  • Open new Google Doc
  • Select Tools/Research
  • Find a factual site and cite!
  • Detailed Instructions can be found HERE
Using the Research Tool in Google Docs

The "Free" Web

Search engines, such as Google, look throughout the internet for information available through the World Wide Web. Most of the content which search engines locate can be viewed freely by anyone with a connection to the internet.

The "free" Web can be a great place to start when you are looking for information. Governments, universities, and various non-profit organizations often place information on their Web sites. But along with these types of Web sites, you also can find pages that were created for completely different reasons (many of which are not in the best interest of the user).

Commercial Web sites, personal Web logs (blogs), and discussion groups can be informative and entertaining, but they often do not provide the type of peer-reviewed information which is best for academic research.

The Library's Electronic Resources--The Basics

Why Use Databases?:

You can find thousands of articles in magazines and journals in the library's databases. What is a database? A collection of the online versions of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles that can be searched and accessed online.

Databases at your fingertips!

Mackin Via has connections to our district databases including Ebsco, Gale, and World Book Online. The Ebsco and Gale databases include resources like reference materials, biographical information, newspaper and magazine articles, primary source documents, photos, maps, and flags. World Book Online is an online encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia, however the information is written and verified by scholars and professionals.

To access Mackin Via you will need use your Student ID# and your 8-digit birthday

Think About Resources You Can Use...

Think about using:

  • Non-fiction books
  • Reference sources -- dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, almanac, atlas
  • Websites, databases, & search engines
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Primary sources -- original documents, eyewitness reports, expert interviews
  • Images and videos

Searching online can be tricky if you don't use the right keywords! Try these search strategies and the suggestions in this Google video:

  • Write down your questions and then pull out the keywords.
  • Think of synonyms that could be used to describe the same word (e.g., live / habitat).
  • Check your spelling if you are not finding anything relevant.
  • Get more specific to narrow the information down by using a combination of keywords.

Evaluating Web Resources

When you locate information on the Internet, it is wise to evaluate the source carefully. Creating a Web page is rather easy. You need to consider if the information contained in the Web site is accurate and authoritative.

Ask yourself the following questions...

Currency or Timeliness

How important is it for your topic to have recent information? Science, technology, and health information need to be as recent as possible. If yes, how current is the information?


Is this the information you need for your topic? Consider the type of information needed

(primary sources or secondary sources) statistics, history or background information.


Locate the author or sponsor and Google the name to find out more. What else have they published on the topic? Are there any credentials for the person to establish them as expert? Is it the main organization that provides information about a topic?


Are there any sources cited for the information? Are images/photos labeled and credited?


Is the information fact or opinion? Is it stating a point of view, promoting an idea,

service or product? If you need opinions, then consider the author’s authority, their use of logic and provision of evidence for their opinions.

Exner, Nina. "Evaluating Web Resources ." The CRAAP Test. CHU Chico, CA, 17 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

Citation Shortcuts

Presentation Ideas!