How a Google Search Works
Choosing a Topic
As you choose a topic to research, start thinking about the key facts you will need to learn.
As a general rule, you should always create a list of at least ten questions to answer.
Later, look over your questions. Which one is the most important? This will be your "essential question."
Writing a good research paper depends on the quality of your research. The quality of your research depends on the quality of your resources.
Here are some resources for this assignment:
Books: Use our card catalog and the MTPL website to find books on your topic.
Databases: Our school district subscribes to many research databases that will be helpful for this project.
Specific websites: These might be recommended by teachers, or they might be links off of the databases.
A search engine: Learn proper methods for searching and choose websites carefully.
Ask yourself the following questions as you decide what resources you will use:
|Currency||Is the website current? If it is very old, move on. Facts might have changed.|
Is the author an expert on the subject?
|Bias||Why was the information written? Was it written to inform, persuade, entertain or sell?|
You also should check to see if the information is directly related to your topic. Just because you find an amazing story or fact doesn't mean it needs to be included in your paper. All information and sources must be related directly to your topic.
Before you Begin Taking Notes:
Skim through your information before you start writing. Keep your research questions in mind. Make sure the material is clear and relates directly to your topic.
Writing Your Notes:
- Write only key facts
- Record each resource you use.
- Use your own words. If you must use phrases by the author, place them in quotation marks.