by Ron Kurtus (updated 28 February 2022)
When you are doing homework or writing a report or term paper for your class, you often need to do research to find sources of information.
Most students use Internet search engines such as Google to find information. You need to make sure the information is correct, as well as to cite the source. Another source for research is the school or public library. They often have a research librarian who will give you assistance and point you in the right direction.
Questions you may have include:
- How do you using search engines?
- How can you make sure the information is correct?
- How can the library be used?
This lesson will answer those questions.
A search engine is an Internet tool that allows you to find websites with the information you are seeking.
Google and others
Google is the most popular search engine. Other popular ones are Bing and Yahoo. With these search engines, you can type in a key word or phrase and see a listing of related websites. The more specific you are in entering words, the better the results.
Ask.com allows you to ask questions or see what others have asked.
(See Resources and References at the end for the Web addresses of these sites.)
Type in key words
In order to find information sources from a search engine, type in one or more key or important words related to your subject. In some cases, you can even type in a whole sentence or question, as a way to get information.
You can put a phrase in quotation marks, such as "ancient Chinese history" as a way to find site that had that phrase.
Note web address
When you find a website with the information you want, write down the web address or URL in case you want to refer to the site again.
In writing a research paper or report, you should be cite the name of the article and website in your paper. This indicates to the teacher that you have done good research.
Make sure information is correct
Although you can readily find information on the Internet, you need to be careful about receiving incorrect information. Make sure the web page has references that will verify the information.
Check several sources
Often, it is good to check with at least two sources on the subject. This will make sure the information is correct.
There are many "urban myths" or untrue stories that become popular and race around the Internet. Most concern current events and celebrities. Some websites even specialize in sensational—but false—stories.
This is one advantage of getting information in books, as opposed to online sources. Published books are usually reviewed for accuracy and often cite resources.
Using the library
In these modern times, many students forget about using the library to find material in hardcopy books. For one thing, it seems like a lot more work. However, the library is a valuable resource and well worth using.
In most libraries, there is a research librarian who can help you find the books or documents needed for your project or assignment.
Looking in books
The Table of Contents in a book can help you find general subjects, but the Index of the book is usually best to find specific subjects.
In a well-written information book, the first sentence of a paragraph will usually give the basic information about the paragraph. The following sentences then elaborate on the material.
Just as with citing or stating a website as a resource, you should also write down the name of the book or periodical and include it in your report.
If you need to do research to find sources of information for homework or a term paper, you can use Internet search engines such as Google to find websites with the information you want. However, you need to make sure the information is correct, as well as to cite the source.
Another source for research is the school or public library. They often have a research librarian who will give you assistance and point you in the right direction.
Seek out the truth
Resources and references
(Notice: The School for Champions may earn commissions from book purchases)
Questions and comments
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