OK! Your teacher has handed you an assignment that involves research.
Where do you begin?
The answer to that question may depend on how long you have before it is due... ahem.
The good news is, library staff are here to help! The best way you can help us help you is to bring your assignment with you to the library. That way we'll be sure to connect you with the right information.
ASK! Do not start by searching Google or Wikipedia! You may need the information quickly, but you also need to worry about whether or not what you are finding on the Internet is correct. Show your assignment to library staff at school or in your community, or contact us by phone to get on the right track. You'll get to the information you need much more quickly than scrolling through thousands of search engine results.
TRY AN ENCYCLOPEDIA. You can often find enough information for a basic assignment in an encyclopedia. If you have a library card, you can search World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica online from home or in the library.
BOOKS and JOURNALS. The encyclopedia may have given you some ideas about how to focus your research. Maybe you started with a topic like 'alternative energy' and have decided to focus on 'wind turbines'. Now it's time to find more detailed and current information by scanning books and articles.
To find books, search the library catalogue.
ONLINE RESOURCES by SUBJECT. If you have a very specific research topic, you may need to find a very specific resource. Choose to find more information organized by school subject.
WRITING, EDITING, FORMATTING and CITING SOURCES. Finding the information was easy enough. The hard part is organizing your thoughts on paper. Ask yourself the following questions as you write:
Did I introduce my topic clearly and have I included a summary of my discussion points up front?
Have I explained each point fully before moving on?
Have I properly quoted and cited any ideas that I've copied from research?
Have I checked my spelling, grammar and formatting?
There are different ways to cite your research and each method has its own set of rules. Your teacher has likely asked you to create a bibliography in either APA, MLA, Turabian or Chicago Style. Concordia University provides an excellent guide to a wide variety of citation styles.