Research Help

Things to think about:

Evaluating resources

When you search the Web, you’re going to find a lot of information . . . but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions you can ask yourself in order to determine if the information on a web site is reliable.

Please keep in mind that the following list of questions is not the only thing to take into consideration. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

So, what are you waiting for? Is your web site credible and useful, or is it a bunch of . . . !

Chart explaining the CRAAP Test.

Keyword Search

Develop a List of Keywords. One way to focus your research is to develop a list of keywords. Keywords can be ideas, people and events that relate to the big picture of your search.

You can use keywords

  • When using search engines (results are partially ranked by keyword)
  • With database searches
  • Paired with Boolean operators to improve your results

Remember, keywords are words, not questions or sentences.

Boolean Operators:

You can also use the words, AND, OR and NOT to help with your searches, especially in databases and search engines. They work the same way as they do when you use them in conversation:

AND - includes all of the words: dogs and puppies- this will give results with information on both dogs and cats

OR - includes one of the other: dogs or cats - will give information on either dogs OR puppies

NOT - will provide information on only the first term, not the second. dogs NOT puppies


Works Cited Page (Bibliography) - a page that list all of the resources you USED in your research product; found at the end of a document.

InText or Parenthetical Citation: Citing the source of the information within the text of the research paper/product. This lets your teacher know exactly what information came from what source. Generally, you want to provide the last name of the author and the specific page numbers of the source. If such information is already given in the body of the sentence, then exclude it from the parenthetical citation.

Annotated Bibliography:

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

You should answer these three questions:

1. Why is this source credible? (what authority does it have?)

2. What is the source about? (how is it relevant?)

3. How will I use the information?


Paraphrasing is putting the ideas of an author into your own words. Paraphrasing helps the quality of your paper by explaining another person’s thoughts in your own writing style, improving the flow and readability.

Tips for effective paraphrasing:

  • The statement must be in your own words.
  • If you use any phrases that are in the original quote, place them in quotation marks.
  • Add a citation—even if a paraphrase is in your own words, it is still someone else’s idea.
  • If you’re having difficulty paraphrasing, make a short list of the quote’s main idea(s) and words that relate to it. Incorporate these concepts and words in your paraphrase.

Databases vs. Websites

User-generated content is information that was not written by experts, professionals or journalists. User-generated content is not always terrible, but you shouldn't trust the information with out investigating it further, and you probably shouldn't use it in your research paper.

Why Should You Use Databases?

There are many reasons why you should use databases for research. Here are three big ones:

  • Items found in databases are written by experts or professional writers
  • Databases search fewer items than search engines, making your research more manageable
  • It has a librarian's approval as a useful resource!
NCwiseowl Logo

NCwiseowl is a tool provided by North Carolina for all of the students in NC. WiseOwl’s subscription databases provide access to articles from thousands of magazines, online encyclopedias and reference sources, and a variety of other sources that are only available to paying customers.

Because this is a resource for the students of North Carolina and only for the students of North Carolina it is password protected. Please see Mrs. Price or anyone in the media center for the password to access the site!

Remember, you must be a wiseowl19 to use NCwiseowl! :)

OneAccess Logo

ONE Access, or “One Number Equals Access,” uses students' school identification numbers instead of separate library cards. With their ONE Access account, students can:

  • Access Library research databases
  • Borrow digital materials such as e-books, e-audiobooks, magazines, music and video
  • Borrow up to 10 print or audio books (no DVDs or music CDs)