Click on the link below to find out more

Web Research Guide

Open Microsoft Word and Type the following steps:

Step 1: Formulate Research Questions (if given to you, type them)
Start by writing specific research questions. Doing so will help you narrow your topic and determine exactly what information you need.
Fact Sheet Topics for state report: Area, Population, nickname, origin of the name, state avbbreviation, capitol, motto, when state was admitted into the union (statehood), current governor, elevation (highest and lowest points), government (number of US senators, Us Representatives, electoral votes, state senators and state representatives), number of counties, state holiday and other state symbols such as mineral, fish, fossil and song.

Step 2: List Possible Sources of Information
Before going online, try to identify any sources that might have information on your topic. For example, you might list:
  • government agencies, such as FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), or the National Park Service

  • museums with exhibits about your state

  • university science departments specializing in research about your state.

  • National Geographic or PBS/NOVA might have TV documentaries on famous stories about your state. Perhaps they would also have information or interactive explorations on their Web sites.

Step 3: Brainstorm Possible Media Elements
Since you're creating a multimedia report, you'll need to find a variety of media resources, in addition to traditional informative texts. For example, you might try to look for:
  • video clips of your subject

  • photographs and maps of you subject

  • audio interviews with people about your subject.

Step 5: Ready . . . Set . . . Search!. Make sure you copy and paste the url's you will be using into your document.
You're finally ready to choose a tool(s) and begin your search. Depending on the time you have and your own personal preference, you can start with a search engine, directory, or a specific site of your own choice.

Using a Directory Let's say that you're interested in getting a general idea of the information available on volcanoes and that your time is somewhat limited. In this case, you might visit one or more directories to get an idea of the kinds of links available for your topic.

Using a Search Engine If you are looking for very specific information, you might want to start with a search engine. Use the keywords you identified in Step 4 to develop your search query. The trick is to try several combinations of keywords, using terms from all three columns in your keyword chart. Possible keyword combinations include: volcanoes and dangers; volcanoes and photographs and erupt; volcanoes and National Park Service; and volcanoes and predict and eruption. Visit Refining Your Search for more tips.

Using Bookmarked Sites If, somewhere throughout your Web travels, you've bookmarked a reliable science Web site or one focusing specifically on volcanoes, try starting there. Explore its information and (if possible) visit the other sites it links to.

Remember—there's no one right way to conduct research on the Web. Just be sure to start with a strategy and experiment with different search tools to get the best results.

Step 6: Refine Your Search
Not getting the results you expected from a search engine? One simple step you can take is to make changes to your search query. Try using different modifiers, phrases, or synonyms to make your query even more specific.
In addition, you might read the Help or Search Tips page of each search engine to help you refine your search. These features guide you on how to use advanced search techniques. One common type of advanced search is called a Boolean search. With Boolean searches, you can increase the accuracy of your searches by specifying the relationships among keywords and phrases. The most commonly used Boolean operators include AND, OR, and NOT.
Boolean Searches at a Glance
AND searches

sports AND baseball
The Boolean operator AND tells a search engine to search for all documents that contain both words in your query.
OR searches

sports OR baseball
The Boolean operator OR broadens or widens a search to include all documents that contain either keyword.
NOT searches

sports NOT baseball
The Boolean operator NOT excludes unwanted terms from your search.
Step 7 Stay Focused
It's easy to be distracted on the Web. Ads, sweepstakes, offers, links—all are designed to get your attention and entice you to go elsewhere. Giving in to these distractions is a sure way to squander time and lose momentum. If a site that's unrelated to your research topic interests you, bookmark the URL so you can return to it when you are surfing the Web for fun.

Step 8: Cast a Wide Net
A thorough search will increase the quality of the results you find online. If you're investigating a particular topic, don't rely on the first relevant site you find for the basis of all your research. Find many sites, evaluate them, pick out a handful of the best, and bookmark those for future reference.

Criteria for Evaluating Websites

Evaluating a Web Site

What is a Bibliography?


A bibliography is a list of resources used or referred to by an author.


Bibliographies used to be lists of written resources. Today, however, they often include information on other resources such as the following:

  • Interviews
  • Video and audio tapes
  • Computer resources
  • Speeches

A bibliography item usually includes information such as the following:

  • Source's name
  • Date of publication or interview
  • Name of publication or resource
  • Place of publication or interview


Here is an example of a bibliography:

  • Dechant, Emerald. 1991. Understanding and teaching reading: An interactive model. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 522.
  • Goodman, Yetta M. (editor). 1990. How children construct literacy: Piagetian perspectives. A collection of 6 papers presented at IRA 11th World Congress, London, 1986. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Create a Bibliography

Create a bibliography