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2 ad better, Research helps us to re most basic skill. Research = Evil Plot? So, what is research anyway? Well, it sure seems like it. Really? Research is an evil teacher plot to bore us into submission. Oh, really, guys! Do you think we ll be kids forever? Research helps us gain skills we ll need as adults. and reading is our to think for ourselves. Someday we will need at. Research helps us do th to be honest. Good research helps us better technology skills. Research helps us gain learn to use all kinds of To succeed we need to tabases, videos, the resources (like books, da internet) really well. w ation out there right no rm fo in h uc m so s e er Th w to find the best stuff. that we have to know ho to learn to And, research helps us work with others. Research = Useful Tool?
3 Getting Started So, how does this research thing start? Most often your teacher gives you an assignment and you just do what it says. What if you get a choice on picking your own topic? ck pi to d ha I if t ar st en ev I d ul wo w ho e, Ge own topic? In Encyclopedia Britannica you can browse for a topic with the Explore Topics section. EBSCO s Student Research Center has a Search by Topic feature. my Think about things you are interested in or would like to learn more about. Don't know for sure what you're interested in researching? Choose a topic that has enough depth so that you can find good resources (If you re having trouble finding enough information, talk to your teacher about it and see if you can choose a different topic). Ask your teacher or librarian which databases you have at your school and how to access them. Depending on what online databases are available at your school, the following ideas may help you get started. Gale s Student Resource Center Junior offers Popular Topics from which to choose. ProQuest SIRS Discoverer has a subject browse that you access by clicking on the appropriate subject.
4 Finding Information & Choosing Keywords What's the best way to find the most useful information on the topic you've chosen? Knowing how to search will help you save time looking for info and getting the good results you need. Start by choosing and using keywords effectively. 1. Take a minute to think about your topic and write down as much information as you already know about it. Example: My topic is endangered species. What I already know about endangered species is that some animals hardly exist anymore. The Texas state reptile is the horned toad, but I ve never seen one. My grandma told me she used to catch them in the alley behind her house when she was little. 2. After that, write down some questions you have about what else you need to know about the topic. Example: What, exactly, does endangered mean? What makes an animal become endangered? What kinds of animals are endangered? How does an animal become un-endangered? 3. Now, go through what you have written and use a highlighter or circle what you think are the most important words or phrases. Key Words: What kinds of animals are endangered? 4. Next, make a list of synonyms or related words for your keywords. Animals Endangered Reptiles extinct Mammals Birds Species Your Turn! My topic and what I know about it: Questions I have about my topic: Highlight or mark the keywords in the questions above. : Other synonyms or related words Click to download
5 Zoom-In on What You Need to Know Your Turn! 1. My assignment is to: 1. Rewrite your assignment in your own words so you know that you understand it. 2. Write the keywords you came up with from the previous page. 3. Locate a resource, like an encyclopedia article that might give you a good overview of your topic. Add to your list of questions and keywords. Make sure you write down the name of your resource or article title. (This will help you later when you will need to cite your resources - don't worry, citing sources will be covered later in this guide.) 4. Make a list of sources where you think you might find information on your topic. These could be databases, books, reference books, and websites. Ask your librarian or teacher for help if you need it. 2. Keywords from the previous page: about my topic: 3. Keywords I found after reading an article Title of article: Name of resource: find more information: 4. Types of sources where I think I might Click to download
6 Search Strategies Have you ever searched the Web and gotten millions of results? It s very difficult to decide which are the best and most relevant resources for your research. Good search strategies will help you get rid of most irrelevant information and get a much smaller list of good results. Remember: Your search results will be only as good as your search strategies. Let's put your keywords to work. To supersize your search, try using Boolean Search Operators. These simple words can make the difference between an OK search and a powerful search. The three magic words are AND, OR, and NOT. 1. Put AND between any two key words to find information that contains both of the terms. For example, animal AND ocean will help you find articles that contain both the words animal and ocean. You can combine several words together, such as animal AND ocean AND garbage. Your number of results will be smaller. animal AND ocean 2. Put OR between any two search terms to find information that relates to all of the terms. You can use OR to combine synonyms of a word. For example, trash OR garbage finds results that contain both words. OR can also be used when words have different spellings, like rainforest OR rain forest. Your number of results will be bigger. 3. Put NOT in front of a search term that you do not want to find. For example, if you are searching for information on the lost city of Atlantis, you will find information about the space shuttle Atlantis on the results list too. Try searching for Atlantis NOT shuttle. This will find articles that use the word Atlantis, but not the word shuttle. Your number of results will be smaller. Atlantis NOT Shuttle Atlantis NOT shuttle You may combine AND, OR, and NOT in the same search. For example, searching for (Inuit OR Eskimo) AND culture will find results on Arctic Native American traditions and way of life. trash OR garbage Tip: Putting quotation marks around words that go together or phrases adds more strength to your search. For example, searching for the phrase "oil boom" will provide better results because the search is for both words in this exact order.
7 Know Your Resources! Start with reliable sources FIRST. Not all information can be found in the same place. Just like stores can be general retail (like Walmart or Target) or specialize in certain things (like just shoes or sports stuff), online resources can be general reference or specialize in certain types of content, like science, literature or history. Remember, in addition to knowing how to search, you need to be familiar with lots of different kinds of resources. One of the great things about online databases is that they provide access to different kinds of resources all in one package. You may have been asked to use a newspaper, magazine, encyclopedia, or book. All of those might be found in an online database at your school or public library. Make sure you know which databases your school has and how to access them. Encyclopedias can be general (like World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica), or they can be specialized, (like EBSCO s Encyclopedia of Animals). Access the online encyclopedias at your school or public library and see how much you can discover. Magazines, newspapers, and journals can be general or specific to one subject. Magazine and newspaper articles can be found in online reference databases, like EBSCO, Gale or SIRS Discoverer. A wide variety of world and national newspapers will be found in NewsBank. If your research topic is in a specific field, like science, check for specialized databses your school might have like EBSCO Science Reference Center or elibrary Science. Books can also be general or more specialized. You can find biographical information in a single biography, collected biography (biographies of more than one person), or within a book that talks about the era in which the author or character lives/lived. Biographies can be found online in Britannica, WorldBook, EBSCO, Gale, and SIRS Discoverer, for example. Primary Source Documents are eyewitness accounts of events or original documents, like the U.S. Constitution and other historical documents, photographs and films, letters, diaries, and historical newspapers. Primary sources can be found in Journey Back in Time, EBSCO, Gale, and NewsBank as well as other databases. You need to know how to use the different types of resources that are available. Your teacher and librarian can help you know how to properly use each one. Books do not have search boxes, but they will usually have an index in the back and a table of contents in the front. These are the book search tools that make it easy to find specific bits of information about your topic. Newspapers are usually broken down into different sections like the front page, which includes international news; or the metro section, which includes local news; business; sports; and entertainment. Online newspapers let you easily search an archive of articles on relevant topics from national and various world newspapers. Online databases provide access to magazine and journal articles that cover general as well as specialized topics like science, history or health. But wait! When using any of these tools, don't just type any old words into the search box. Use the search skills you learned earlier in this guide about selecting keywords and building good searches and ask for help if you get stuck.
8 Using the Internet Wow, there's all kinds of information on the internet and not all of it is good. It is much easier to identify misleading or false information if you already know a bit about your topic so it's a good thing you started with the reliable sources FIRST. Remember, anyone can put anything they want on the internet so it's important to know how to decide if you are on a site that is going to have accurate information. Search Engines Using a search engine is like using the search box in a database. The search engine takes the words you enter and goes out to look for websites that contain your search terms. So the better your search terms, the better your results. Use singular nouns and put phrases or words that go together in quotation marks. Look to see if the search engine you are using gives search tips. There are a lot of different search engines. It is a good idea to be familiar with more than one since they each work a bit differently. You may find you get different results from different search engines. Google, Bing, and Ask are quite often the first ones that come to mind. Other search engines are based on prescreened web sites. Awesome Library and SweetSearch are good examples of this type of search engine. The advantage of these sites is that they have already done the website evaluation for you. Website Evaluation There are five questions you need to ask before you decide to use a website. 1. Who is responsible for the website? a. Can you find the name of the author personal or corporate? b. Can you contact the author by ? c. If the author is an individual; is there a corporate or university sponsor? 2. What are the author s credentials? a. Does the author have a degree in the field? b. If not listed, can you determine why this person might be an expert on this topic? 3. Where is the website hosted? a. First, the domain: educational (.edu), government (.gov), military (.mil), commercial (.com)? b. Second, the sponsor: the organization, association, institution, etc. behind the site? 4. When was the site last updated? a. Is there a specific date or copyright date? b. Is it recent enough for the information to be relevant? For example, you are looking for current numbers on endangered species and the web site you found was last updated in Why was the website created? a. Is the site set up to educate/inform? b. Is there a particular bias to the website? For example, is the goal of the web site to convince you of only one thing? Answering all these questions also provides you with most of the information you'll need to properly cite the web page in the Works Cited part of your project.
9 Quoting, Paraphrasing & Summarizing Now that you have a bit of a start, there are a few more things you need to know before going further into your research. Taking Notes Reading through your resources and taking notes helps you to Add to knowledge you already have Organize the information you are gathering for your research paper Avoid plagiarism Earlier in this guide, it was mentioned that good research helps you to be honest. Dishonest research is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is when you copy information directly from a resource without giving credit to the original author. The goal of your research paper is to learn new things by writing about your topic in your own words. But, you will still need to support what you are saying with information taken from experts. Quoting is when you use the exact words from the source you are using. When you quote a source, you put quotation marks around the quote. After the quotation, you give a quick reference to the source showing the author s last name or the first word in the article title (excluding an, or, the) and a page number if there is one. Example: This is a direct quote from my source. I have typed it word-for-word as it was written. (Author 5) Paraphrasing means that you put the author s words into your own words without using any of the author s exact words or synonyms. You still need to give credit to the original source since you are restating the author s original idea. Example: I am putting the author s words into my own, but the idea is not mine. (Author 5) Summarizing means taking multiple ideas from the original source and putting them into your own words. Example: This is the first idea I m putting into my own words. This is the second idea, and so forth. (Author 5-6) Now that you understand about quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing you are ready to learn about taking notes. Understanding all these things before you start your research will help you avoid plagiarism and help you keep your information organized. When you're taking notes, write down important ideas in your own words. Organize your notes according to the details of your assignment. You can also Question 1 What, exactly, does endangered mean? Notes: Endangered species are living things threatened with extinction that is, the dying off of all of their kind. Source: Nilsson, Greta. "Endangered species." World Book Student. World Book, Web. 10 June (1st sentence of the article) Notes: Endangered species they face a high risk of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. Source: Endangered species." Compton's by Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, Web. 10 June (1st paragraph in article introduction) organize your notes by the questions you wrote down to guide you in exploring your topic. Make sure you include the source of the information in your notes. What makes an animal become endangered? Download a note taking worksheet to help you organize your notes Question 2 Notes: Most biologists consider a species endangered if they expect it would die off completely in less than 20 years if no special efforts were made to protect it, or if the rate of decline far exceeds the rate of increase. Until the last few centuries, species became rare or died out as a result of natural causes. These causes included changes in climate, catastrophic movements in Earth's crust, and volcanic eruptions. Today, species become endangered primarily because of human activities. Species mainly become endangered because of (1) loss of habitat, (2) wildlife trade, (3) overhunting, and (4) competition with domestic and nonnative animals. Source: Nilsson, Greta. "Endangered species." World Book Student. World Book, Web. 10 June (3rd and 4th paragraphs)
10 Organizing Your Information Organizing the important information you discover will save a lot of time and help you make sense of the information you find. Knowing what information you found and where it came from is really important and will make preparing your final project SO much easier. Concept Map A concept map organizes information into sub-topics and shows how they relate to each other. Start by making an outline of the main ideas you discovered. Next consider using a graphic organizer to make it easier to connect your ideas to one another. There are lots of great graphic organizers. Examples of free graphic organizers found on the Web are Bubbl.us, Gliffy or ReadWriteThink. Here are some examples of different kinds of graphic organizers you could use to help you organize the ideas you discovered and recorded in your notes: Venn Diagram A Venn diagram is useful to compare and contrast information. Try out one of these online graphic organizers: Bubbl Gliffy Create a free account and save your work online. KWHL Chart A KWHL chart helps you figure out what you already know about a topic and what additional information you need to find. K W H L What I know What I want to know How I can find out What I learned
11 Your Project It s show time! This is the most important part. Your project is your opportunity to shine and showcase your communication skills, your understanding of the topic, and your conclusions. Your project could be a research paper, verbal report with multimedia presentation, a poster, a cartoon, a video, a podcast, or another way your teacher asked you to show what you learned. Regardless of the type of project, writing is always needed to organize your ideas and communicate your findings and conclusions. Make sure you prepare your final project and check your work against the assignment and rubric. If You're Completing a Research Paper A research paper has four parts. 1. Introduction - Here you define your topic and what you plan to prove about your topic. 2. Body The body of the paper is used to present your arguments and findings. This should reflect what you discovered based on what you read. Quotations, paraphrases or summaries should be used to support what you are saying. 3. Conclusion The conclusion summarizes your findings and ties everything together. If you started with a thesis statement, the conclusion will be a summary of how you proved your thesis statement. 4. Works Cited or Bibliography The works cited page or bibliography is used to show the complete information about each of your sources. A bilbiography lets the reader know where they can go to learn what you read about. Verbal Report with Multimedia Presentation Verbal reports are you talking about what you learned so be sure to know what you are talking about! It's a good idea to have note cards in case you get stuck on something. Make good eye contact with your audience. Use good posture. Be animated. Avoid using a monotone. A multimedia presentation can help you show what you learned as you give your verbal report. Keep the information simple with plenty of images, audio, or video clips. Examples of technology tools for multimedia presentations are PowerPoint, Keynote and Prezi. No matter what form your project takes - report, visual presentation, podcast, poster, etc., you'll need to have a bibliography. Check out some tips for bibs on the next page. Remember, the point of a research paper is to show what you have learned about the topic and how you used the information you gathered to come to your own conclusions.
12 Works Cited Page or Bibliography A works cited page or bibliography will show that your project is based on reliable information and that you have given credit to your sources. Bibliography A bibliography is where you give the information that fully identifies the sources you used for your presentation. There are different types of writing styles for citations. Your teacher will probably ask you to use what's called MLA style. Here are some examples of MLA citations for different types of sources: Book: Kalman, Bobbie. The ABCs of Endangered Animals. New York: Crabtree, Author(s) Title City Where Published Online Database: Schardt, Hannah. "Why Is This Crocodile Smiling?." National Wildlife 46.6 (2008): Author(s) EBSCO Science Reference Center. Web. 11 Jan Database Title Article Title Medium Date You Used the Site Website: Protecting the Future of Nature. WWF. World Wildlife Fund Web. 17 June Endangered species." Compton's by Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, Web. 10 June (1st paragraph in article introduction) Publication Title Title Name of Website Date Last Updated Publisher Copyright Date Vol. & Issue Medium Date Published Pages Date You Used the Site Nilsson, Greta. "Endangered species." World Book Student. World Book, Web. 10 June (1st sentence of the article) Evaluation How did I do? Before you turn in your research paper or project go over everything thoroughly to make sure you have done the best job possible. I completed everything required in the assignment. The paper/project is in my own words. I used an in-text citation every time I quoted/paraphrased/summarized. I answered all the questions that I asked myself as I started my research. I used a variety of resources such as books, periodicals, databases, and the WWW. I have notes, an outline, and a graphic organizer to show how I did my research. I learned something from working on this assignment. I gave an interesting presentation without reading directly from my notes. I gave an interesting presentation using multimedia, video or podcast that showed my knowledge on the topic without reading directly from my visuals. My poster or cartoon was informative, in my own words, and had visuals that represented my topic. I was inspired to do extra reading on the topic or related topics. Very Well OK Could have done better One very important thing is to proofread your paper or project yourself. Read it carefully. Spell checkers in computer programs don't always catch all the misspelled words. Excellent job!
13 Standards for the 21st Century Learner Reading is a window to the world. The degree to which students can read and understand text in all formats and all contexts is a key indicator of success in school and in life. Inquiry provides a framework for learning. Students must develop the skills to thrive in a complex information environment. Ethical behavior in the use of information is a requirement in an increasingly global world of information. Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs. The continuing expansion of information demands that all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own. Learning has a social context. Learning is enhanced by opportunities to share and learn with others. Students need to develop skills in sharing knowledge and learning with others, both in face-to-face situations and through technology. According to the American Association of School Libraries learners use skills, resources, and tools to: 1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge. 2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge. 3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society. 4. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth. Excerpted from Standards for the 21st- Century Learner by the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association, copyright 2007 American Library Association. Available for download at www. ala.org/aasl/standards. Used with permission.
14 How to Use Each Database Click on the sources below to access each database World Book Student ProQuest SIRS Discoverer Britannica School Edition NewsBank Access World News EBSCO Student Research Center Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus Gale Student Resource Center Junior
15 How to Use World Book Student How to Use Britannica School Edition Middle School
16 How to Use EBSCO Student Research Center How to Use Gale Student Resource Center Junior
17 How to Use ProQuest SIRS Discoverer on the Web How to Use NewsBank Access World News Student Edition
18 How to Use the Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus The Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus can help you choose a good synonym for either your research key words or as you are writing your research paper. Just remember, you don t want to use it to paraphrase something by simply changing a few words. That is plagiarism. Paraphrasing means to put the information into your own words. The visual thesaurus can help you avoid choosing synonyms that are the wrong part of speech. It can also help you avoid using the same word over and over. red box
19 What is DKC? Digital Knowledge Central (DKC) provides participating Texas schools with a full collection of educational online resources. The next time you need to do research, think DKC! Just ask your school librarian for a list of available resources and login information at your campus. Why Use Online Academic Databases? 24/7 access 365 days a year from school and home current, relevant information on any topic access to sources not available on the open Web easily accessible citation information no advertisements Questions? Ask your school librarian for help using any online resource. DKC Help Desk Phone: Copyright 2011 Education Service Center, Region 20 (ESC-20). All rights reserved