Student Research Guide

by Cherie Mallory

When should I utilize internet research?

Topics that are contemporary (modern topics) – The Internet has more up-to-date information on current events.

Topics that are controversial – The Internet can give you a lot of different opinions on one topic. It can help you research a topic from different perspectives.

What do I want to discover?

Once you have decided on a topic, you will need to narrow down your research.
Write a list of questions that you would like answered to help guide your research.

5 Tips for Effective Internet Research

1: Use unique, specific terms

To reduce the number of pages returned, use unique terms that are specific to the subject you are researching.

2: Use the minus operator (-) to narrow the search

For example, when searching for the country Africa, references to the company Africa, Inc. could also be returned. Use Africa-Inc. to exclude references to the company to further refine the search.

3: Use quotation marks for exact phrases

Using quotation marks around a phrase will return only those exact words in that order. It's one of the best ways to limit the pages returned. E

4: Don't use common words and punctuation

Common terms like a and the are called stop words and are usually ignored. Punctuation is also typically ignored. But there are exceptions. Common words and punctuation marks should be used when searching for a specific phrase inside quotes.

5: Capitalization

Most search engines do not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase, even within quotation marks.


Wikipedia is a great place to START, but not to FINISH your research.
Utilize Wikipedia as the springboard for discovery. Let it help you in guiding what direction you would like your research to take. Keep in mind Wikipedia can have errors in information and should never be used as a sole source for information

Great Websites for World Geography Research

ABC-CLIO Database

ABC-CLIO is a great resources for all social studies research. Our school district subscribes to this website to give students another tool for online research. Make sure you get your username and password from your teacher.
ABC-CLIO articles are updated daily and include also include a wide variety of primary documents for your research.
ABC-CLIO provides all MLA citations at the bottom of each article.


How to cite your sources:

Use the format below to add Internet resources to a bibliography:

Author. Title of Website. Web address or URL. Copyright date. Date you found the information.

Author: If there is no author listed, you would skip this part.

Title: List the exact Title of the Website

Web address: the exact URL of the website.

Copyright date: (this is found by clicking on “About this Site”

Date found: you found the information