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The Research Process...

We live in a high tech world where technology is pushing us all to the cutting-edge—more and more you will need to know how to access information quickly, accurately and legitimately. To do so you will be required to develop new literacy skills, including how to do research.  Consider the following tutorials and websites to help you get started on your high-tech researching journey!

While researching, keep in mind the following statements:

  • Technology has expanded our choices

  • The need for "vetting" or testing the reliability or truthfulness of the information sources.  Most reliable sites are usually your ".gov"; ".edu"; and ".org"  The ".com" sites may or may not offer reliable or truthful information.  Beware of blogsites...they are biased.  You may not even know the author or if they are qualified to speak on the subject.  Be careful concerning statistics on the Internet.  A dropped "0" can make a difference.  Remember there is no one editing websites and anyone can put a website out on the Internet.

  • The necessity for planning, posing a meaningful question before beginning your research

  • Combat the urge of the "Principle of Least Effort"

  • Searching requires forethought, thinking of important words; using quotes and other strategies to narrow your hits

Preparing for the Future

CMS Information Literacy Research Plan.

  • Students need more practice and instruction on how to research using the materials available in the library

  • Need to know how to access and use the Tennessee Electrtonic Library

  • Need to know how to cite sources correctly using MLA format

Basically need to have the necessary skills to be successful researchers in the future


The Basics.


  1. Go to the: “Tennessee Electronic Library

  2. Browse Resources by Grade Level:   Middle School

  3. Password: elvis

  4. Try the “Junior Edition” which is a periodical database designed for students in middle school with access to a variety of indexed and full-text magazines, newspapers and reference books for information on current events, the arts, science, popular culture, health, people, government, history, sports and more.

  5. The first page says “Basic Search” and you need to type in a topic into the “Find” box.

  6. Notice to the left you may do a "Subject Search"; a "Keyword Search"; or an "Advanced Search"

  7. Notice too, the icons labeled encyclopedias, magazines, maps, newspapers, reference or all sources.

  8. Use the "Save List" function to compile your report's bibliography or citations.



Online Reference Sources.

Common Core Standards.

Goal or objective:  Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.  

The Research Question.

How to develop and narrow a topic by creating a research question. 


Research Question/Thesis Worksheet PDF

A Video Tutorial:  How to Evaluate a Website for Middle Schoolers...walks students through the five criteria for evaluating a website...authority, objectivity, currency, accuracy, and finally usefulness.


Finding Reliable Sources...

"Researching Research" Presentation...

Plagiarism Rap.

Plagiarism is cheating.  It is also against the law.   It is the act of taking someone else's creative work and putting your name on it. To avoid plagiarism, cite your source, that is, give credit to the creative mind that came up with the idea, the picture, the photograph, the videoclip, the music, the animation...anything that you did not create yourself.  

The Punishable Perils of Plagiarism.

Fighting plagiarism is serious business. From brainchild-snatching to wholly quotables, plagiarists have plenty of wily ways to pass others' work off as their own -- and all of them are threats to original thinking. Melissa Huseman D'Annunzio imagines what would happen if a Department of Plagiarism Investigation were on the case.

Lesson by Melissa Huseman D'Annunzio, animation by Hache Rodriguez

Reliable, Authoritative Information.

Not everything you see or hear on the Internet is true.  Be careful.  Choose from credible sites. 


A brief introductory video concerning how to use citations within academic writing in middle and early high school.

A Video Tutorial:  Tips on using the Google Search engine and how to narrow your results to relevant hits or power search strategies.

"Reliability" Presentation...

Be a Digital Spy


See how well you can decide on the reliability of these different websites by answering questions that reflect the "A.D.A.M." Approach to analyzing websites.



Ready Reference Sources

Production Tools

Interactive Research Lessons

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