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How do I start a research project?

Encyclopedias are a great place to start. An encyclopedia such as The World Book has basic information and useful graphs and pictures. This will give you a good overview of your topic.

The encyclopedia will give you clues for further research. Look for:

  • Names of people, places and events
  • Correct spellings and dates
  • Related subjects
  • Book lists

First decide what you need to know, and what your finished project will look like. If you are writing a report, do you know:
  • how many pages you will need to write?
  • how many books you may use?
  • what kind of books you need?
  • do you need to make a bibliography (book list)?
Here are some tips to help you in your research:
  • Ask a Librarian to help you get started!
  • If you have a school assignment, bring the teacher's instructions with you to the Library.
  • Bring money to the Library in case you need to photocopy or print something.
  • Bring paper and pencils to the Library.
  • Start on your project early! The books you need may be checked out to other people. The Librarian can place these books on hold for you.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to work at the Library. Research can take a longer time than you planned. You may have to look at reference books that can't be taken home.
  • Usually, you will need to look at more than one book. You may have to follow several clues before finding enough information.
  • Books in the Children's Library are specially chosen for students in grades 1 to 6, and are useful for homework projects. Students in upper grades may also find the Children's Library a good starting point for their research.
  • Think beyond books! Magazines, newspapers, videos, audiocassettes and the Internet are all good tools to use.
  • Think beyond the Internet! The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it does not have all the information you need. Some information on the Internet is wrong or too old. Go to the Glendale Public Library web site for help in using the Internet wisely.
  • Make a list of where you have already looked for information. That way, if you have to come back to the Library again, you will not repeat your work.
How Do I Write a Bibliography?

Check with your teacher to see if there is a special format you must use for your bibliography. Your teacher may prefer the MLA or APA format.

Books at the Reference Desk can show you how to write the citations in your bibliography. Ask a librarian to show them to you.

Websites also give you information about bibliographies. The librarians recommend THE WRITERS WORKSHOP website.


Last modified: Friday, August 17, 2012 1:46:25 PM


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