Library Research Page

Big 6 Research is an information literacy or research process used to identify goals and then seek, use and assemble information gathered from credible resources.

Step 1: Task Definition

  1. What does your teacher want you to do?
    1. What type of project
      • Research Paper
      • Science Fair Project
      • Speech
    2. How many sources
      • 3
      • 5
      • 8
    3. What types of sources
      • Websites
      • Books
      • Newspapers
      • Databases
      • Interviews
      • Magazines
    4. Any Technology Requirements
      • PowerPoint
      • Movie
      • Spreadsheet
      • Graphs
    5. Choose the correct topic.
    6. Browse possible topics online to see if there is adequate information
    7. Don’t make your topic too broad or too narrow
    8. Choose a topic that interests you!

Step 2:Information Seeking Strategies

  1. Use reference materials such as an encyclopedia
  2. Gain a basic understanding of your topic
  3. Help decide what subtopics to research further
  4. Decide what sources of information might be the most help
    1. Databases
    2. Books
    3. Websites
    4. Etc.
  5. Which ones do you know how to use?
  6. Which do you have access to?
  7. Come up with questions about your topic
  8. Develop key words to use from your questions

Step 3:Location and Access

  1. Use resources to locate sources
    1. OPAC – Books
    2. Power Library Databases – Magazines, Journals, and Newspapers
    3. Search Engines – Web Sites
  2. Use tools within sources to find reliable information
    1. Books
    2. Index
    3. Table of Contents
    4. Websites
    5. Search Engines (Google, Bing, etc.)
    6. Keywords (Look Below for more information on keywords
    7. Databases
    8. Keywords
    9. Boolean Logic (Look Below for more information)

Step 4:Use of Information

  1. Engage your sources
  2. Read, Listen or View your source to find the information you need.
  3. Read summaries
  4. Look for highlighted items
  5. Take notes on the important information you find.
  6. Answer the questions that you came up with earlier during step 2.
  7. Keep track of what resources you are going to use for you research for works cited or bibliography page.
    1. Write down author, title, publisher, copyright year, and pages used for books.
    2. Write down URL, last update date, author, and date used for websites.
    3. Check out your citations guidelines if you’re not sure what to include.
      • MLA
      • APA
      • Chicago

Step 5:Synthesis

  1. Organize information from multiple sources
  2. Bring information together from all your resources and make it into an authentic new work that you yourself created.
  3. Add your own ideas to your work don’t make it a summary of the information you collected.
    1. Write a rough draft
    2. Create an outline
    3. Create a storyboard
  4. Present your information and finished product
  5. Make sure it is something you’re proud of!
  6. Include the bibliography or Works Cited with all of the sources that you used.

Step 6:Evaluation

  1. Before turning your assignment in make sure all the requirements for the assignment have been met.
  2. Make sure you have given credit to all your sources.
  3. Are YOU proud of your work?
  4. Judge how efficient you were.
    1. What did you learn that you can use again?
    2. How will I improve on the skills needed to do research?
    3. What did I do well and what didn’t I do well?
    4. What should you differently next time?
    5. What information sources were useful and can you use them again?
    6. What information sources did you need but didn’t have access to?
      • Talk to your librarian about any sources that you needed but were unable to acquire.

Research Terms and Tools

Thesis Statement– A good thesis statement summarizes your research topic and explains to the reader your main idea; it is the central argument or central analysis that you are making within you’re research.

  • Here are some helpful websites that will help you write a concise and clear thesis statement.
    • Guide to Writing Thesis Statements –  U. of Washington
    • How to Write a Thesis Statement – U. of IndianaÂ



The keywords are basically the most important or essential words to an idea or sentence.

  • For example if I asked the question; on what continent in the world can I find the Rhine River, my keywords are continent and Rhine River.
  • Most search engines compute results based on keywords so it is futile to include other words besides your key words; they may only construe what you’re really looking for.
  • When conducting searches on the internet or through databases you should only use your keywords.  For example to use Google or any other search engine to find out what continent the Rhine River is on I only need to type in Rhine River and continent; my keywords.  There is no need to type in the entire question.  Searches will be more advanced and more efficient if conducted in this way.
  • If your searches come up empty use a thesaurus to identify different words that have identical meanings or close to identical meanings to expand your search yet keep it refined.  For example Ocean is different from Sea yet they are close to each other in meaning.


Boolean Logic

Boolean Logic is the use of the words AND, OR and NOT to narrow searches.  The Boolean terms AND, OR and NOT increase results while   refining them.  They can be used separately or together examples are as follows:

  • When searching for Bald Eagles you may use Eagles AND Bald for your search.
  • When searching for Eagles you may use Eagles NOT Philadelphia to block results about the football team the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • You may use both together such as Eagles AND Bald NOT Philadelphia
  • You may use the other term OR for terms that are alike or are of equal worth to your search, for example if you’re doing a project on both Bald and Golden Eagles you could use the search strategy Eagles AND Bald OR Golden.  This search will bring about articles on both Bald or Golden Eagles.
    • Boolean Tutorial (Highly Recommended) – Colorado State University
    • Boolean Searching  –  Internet Tutorials
    • Boolean Help  –  Ithaca College


In – Text Citations

Citations are listings of the author or other individuals whose work you have used to create your research project.  Citations are the way that you give credit to those who developed those ideas that you have utilized.  In-Text citations are placed directly in the places in your paper that you have used those ideas.  You need to include in-text citations when you:

  • directly quote the author
  • use the author’s idea

There are several different types of ways to cite sources.  Depending on your subject and your teacher’s preference you could use MLA, APA, and Chicago to name a few.  Some styles require you to cite the author’s name directly in the text while others prefer you to place numbers in the text and use footnotes or endnotes.  Find out what your teacher requires and use style guides or ask for help from Mr. Muench.

  • Research and Documentation Online – Diana Hacker (Highly Recommended for citation reference) Reference for all citation styles
  • MLA In-Text citation – OWL Perdue University
  • APA In-Text citation –  OWL Perdue University
  • Chicago In-Text citation –  University of North Carolina



A bibliography or works cited page lists all of the full citations that you have used throughout your research project.  Everything from books, websites, pictures, and interviews need to be cited.  There are several different types of citations. The top three are MLA, APA and Chicago.  You should always use the type that your teacher asks for.  There are printed guides that you may use, guides on the internet and also citation makers.  Whichever you use make sure that you include all relevant background information such as author, publisher, web address, copyright date etc.

Research and Documentation Online –  Diana Hacker (Highly Recommended)

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