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A guide to online research and
citing your stuff

              Developed by L. Gorvett, with a lot of help (see
              Bibliography) for the Waterloo Catholic District School
              Board. Spring 2010
Part B: Research Tools
Print (Books), Databases (EZ Find),
and ―The Internet‖ (aka Google).
Includes website evaluation and a
section on Wikipedia
Table of Contents
   Books and Encyclopedias (slides 4-5)
   Databases (E-Z Find)
            Overview (slide 6)
            Details (slides 7 - 13)
   The “Internet”
            Overview (slide 14)
            Evaluation (Internet RAFT) (slides 15 - 20)
            Search tips (slides 21 – 23)
   Wikipedia (slides 24 – 30)
   Bibliography (Slide 31)
Books and Encyclopedias
 Found at your Library (use computer
  catalog to find books)
 Almost always reliable

 Use the encyclopedia for an overview of

  your topic
Books and Encyclopedias
 Is it Fiction or Non-Fiction?
 Use the table of contents (found at the
  beginning of the book) to quickly identify
  book’s relevance
 Use the index (found at the back of the book)
  to quickly search for specific topics
 Check the copyright date
Online Databases aka
                      Found at your Library
                       or school website
                      ―Invisible Web‖ - not
                       everything on the
                       Internet is searchable
                       via Google!
                       Your Electronic
                      Resource Library
 Excellent research sources for projects,
  speeches and classroom presentations:
 Articles from magazines

 Encyclopedias - EBSCO Animals, Grolier

  Online, Grolier Passport, Universalis
 Reference books & other e-books

 Newspapers

 Images
                       Your Electronic
                      Resource Library
 Online databases provide access to
  many published resources.
 These subscription sites are paid for by

  Ontario Ministries and the WCDSB.
 The sources are trustworthy.

                            Your Electronic
                           Resource Library
   What is an online database?
   A database of published resources from an
    electronic publisher.
                                          Magazines &

      Pictures,                                Encyclopedias


                              Your Electronic
                             Resource Library
   Features of an Online Database

      Updated                                  Search using
      regularly                               words or pictures

    Indexed using
       common                                       Limit results
     search terms                                  by format, e.g.

                    Reputable – known

                       Your Electronic
                      Resource Library
 Why are online databases more trustworthy
  or credible than Google?
 Authorship - Articles are signed and edited.
  Academic publications are peer-reviewed.
 $$$$ - not selling an opinion or product

 Date of publication - Know when resource

  was updated
               Do you want to
                 buy a car?

                        Your Electronic
                       Resource Library
 Online databases are easier to use than
 Completely indexed with common search
 Can search using words, topics, pictures or in
  some cases, visual search                 Easy,
 User is able to limit results by type of

  resources required
                  Access & Passwords

 Licensed for the use of current students and
  current staff of the WCDSB
 School - User ID and password NOT required

 Home - User ID and/or password required

               “trillium” is user ID
                   and login most
               databases including all
                  EBSCO and Gale

The Internet: aka

 Easy to use
 Free                           Is
 Get a large number of hits   good?
 Not always reliable
Hey there, have you evaluated?

    Is that site good enough
              to cite?
This one looks good.
 can I tell for sure?
It’s okay to be confused!
 There are billions of websites
  out there
 Many of them are not worthy of
  your time and don’t belong in
  your bibliographies!
 Sometimes it’s very hard to tell
  treasure from trash
 Sometimes Web developers
  don’t want you to understand the
                  Yeah, and how can
                      we be sure
                   our teacher will
                       it’s good
Okay, so how        enough to cite?
do we know if
a site is good?
    The Internet
   Do you have your Internet RAFT?
   Reliable: Does the information make sense? Do other sources
    give the same information? Are there references so I can
    cross-check? What can I learn from the URL?
   Author: Who created, or takes responsibility for, this
    website? (Hint: if you can’t figure out who wrote the
    information, do you really want to use this site?) Why did the
    author create this website? (Is it a school project? Is the
    author trying to sell me something?)
   Friendly: How user-friendly is this website? Is the web page
    laid out in a way that makes it easy to use? Is it in language I
    can understand?
   Timely: Check for a date… When was this website last
    updated? Is the information current?
The Internet aka

 ALWAYS double check anything you find via
  a search engine
 How does Google work?

   Check out this cool technology

   What do you think of this site?
    The Internet aka
                         Search Tips
   Type in just key words. Know what you're looking for -
    If you want information on blue jays, don't type in birds.
    Don't type whole sentences or questions. Be specific!
   Put words in “quotation marks” - If the words must go
    together, put them in quotation marks. "Toronto Blue
    Jays" will bring up the baseball team while Toronto Blue
    Jays will often give you the city and the birds.
   Capitalize – Try capitalizing proper names. China will
    give you the country; china will give you sites on dishes!
    The Internet aka
                          Search Tips
   Check your spelling - Most search engines will look for
    exactly what you have written. Pionear homes might not
    give you log cabins while pioneer homes will.
   Use connecting words - Using "and" will ensure that
    both words you are looking for show up in the same web
    page. For example, "Argonauts and football" would
    bring up a Toronto football team but not mythic heroes.
    Using "or" means that you are searching for sites with
    either word eg.: leopards or panthers.
   Try other words - If one set of words don’t work, try
    some of the other ones you brainstormed
The Internet aka

            Search Tips summary
 Frame search carefully

     Brainstorm possible search terms
     Use key words from your topic

     Do not frame your search as a sentence or
 Use ―quotation marks‖ to limit searches
 Use connecting words (and/or) to expand
    Wikipedia Overview

 Articles are never "finished".
  They are continually edited and       I'm a
                                       work in
  (usually) improved over time.       progress

 Many articles start out by giving

  one view of the subject. After a
  long process of discussion,
  debate, and argument they
  gradually take on a consensus
Strengths of Wikipedia
  Current: Wikipedia often produces excellent
articles about newsworthy events within days or hours of
their occurrence.
  Errors are fixed: In comparison with most other
web-based resources, Wikipedia's open approach
increases the chances that any particular factual error
or misleading statement will be promptly corrected.
  Hyperlinks: Thanks to its extensive hyperlinks and
external links, it can be an excellent guide to other
related material.
Weaknesses of Wikipedia

   Not Reliable: Any given article may be, at any
    given moment, in a bad state: for example, it could
    be in the middle of a large edit or it could have
    been recently vandalized.
   Not Balanced: There is no systematic process to
    make sure that "obviously important" topics are
    written about, so at any given time Wikipedia may
    be wildly out of balance in the relative attention
    paid to two different topics.
Weaknesses of Wikipedia

   Incomplete: Particular Wikipedia articles
    (or series of related articles) are liable to be
    incomplete. For example, one side of a
    controversial issue may be excellently
    presented, while the other is barely mentioned.
   Doesn't cite sources: Many contributors
    do not cite their sources — something that
    makes it hard for the reader to judge the
    credibility of what is written.
    Using Wikipedia for Research
   Use multiple independent sources: Be
  especially careful of the FUTON bias ("Full Text On the
  Net" bias) and make sure that a second article
  appearing to confirm a Wikipedia article is not just a
  copy of an earlier version
 Examine an article's history: Read the history
  and talk pages to understand which points of the
  article (if any) are in dispute
 Understand Wikipedia's biases: This does not
  make Wikipedia useless, it just means that it should be
  approached differently than one approaches a typical
  reference work
   Clipart: Free Clipart by Philip Martin. Accessed June 15,
   E-Z Find section adapted from E-Z Find: Your Electronic Resource Library, a
    PowerPoint created by Elaine Zink for the WCDSB Resource Centre July 2009.
   Evaluation section adapted from Evaluation PowerPoint, created by Joyce
    Valenza, May 2007.
    Accessed June 15, 2010.
   Wikipedia section adapted from ―Wikipedia: Researching with Wikipedia‖.
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Accessed
    March 24, 2010.
   RAFT acronym developed by Lou Murray Gorvett, with a lot of help from her
    friends on the LM_NET School Library listserve

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