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Middle School


The world is a big, interesting place and there is so much to know!  That is why research is so much get to discover all kinds of exciting things!  Just like anything you set out to do, it's good to have a plan, and the same goes for research!  Follow these steps and reach research success!



1. Think what it is that you want to know or what your teacher is asking you to explore. Do you understand the assignment?  Ask clarifying questions before you begin.

2. Come up with ideas that fit the topic you are curious about or the assignment you are doing for school.  You might want to write these down or discuss with your friends and family.

3. Brainstorm vocabulary for your topic.  What kinds of keywords will you search for in book indexes and online search engines?  Think of similar words (synonyms) and other words related to your topic.

4. Think about what kinds of sources you might use.  There are so many good ones out there, so plan well!  You might use interviews, encyclopedias, online databases, books, and more.  The sources you use will also depend on the research you are doing.  For example, if you are doing a geography project you might want to use an atlas.  If you are doing a history project, you might want to look at timelines.  Ask your teacher if there are also any specific resource requirements (what kinds of sources to use, how many to use, etc.).  


Search for Information

1. Now that you have identified your resources, let's go find them!  A great place to go is the CIC of course!  There you can find lots of resources, but you can also ask the CIC staff for pointers and advice.  

2. Remember to use our awesome online catalog if you would like to find books, websites, or database info!

3. If you are using the Internet or our online databases, don't forget to use good search strategies.  You might want to review these before you start searching.  If you feel you are ready, you should definitely look at our cool search engines.  

Great Search Tips! 

Cool Search Engines!

4. Make sure to locate sources that have information you understand.  That will make your information accurate.  The CIC staff can help you find sources at your reading level and teach you how to locate them in them future.


Take Notes and Make Sense of the Information

1. You might want to use some of our cool note taking tools.  Click here for those!

Note Taking Tools

2. Don't take notes on everything - only facts and ideas that specifically deal with your topic.  Look for dates, important people, places, and events.  Don't just try to list facts, but the big, general ideas as well.

3. Try to paraphrase as much as possible, putting ideas into your own words.  

4. Don't forget to keep track of your sources once you begin working with them.  You will want to create a bibliography/works cited.  This shows where you got your ideas from and you can avoid plagiarism when you do your research project.  For help on avoiding plagiarism and citing sources, try this link if you get stuck.

Citation Help

5. Evaluate sources as you go.  Ask yourself, is this information accurate and up-to-date?  Is it good for the project I am really doing and what I am trying to find out?  If not, you might need to choose another source.  Why not check here for help on evaluating information?

Evaluating Information


Make a Product to Demonstrate your Learning and Share

1. Reporting comes in many forms.  It can be in the form of a written essay, a poster, an oral presentation, an online portfolio of your learning, a video, a game or a skit you make, and much more.  Make sure you report using one of the formats that your teacher asks you to.

2. If you have an opportunity to use some of our online creation tools, try these.  We also have lots of copyright-free resources you can use for your project.

Online Creation Tools

Copyright-Free Resources

3. Make sure to finish your report by the deadline.  Double check your report to make sure you are happy with it (both accuracy of information and also the look of your presentation).  Oh yeah, and don't forget your bibliography! 



Now that you have finished, think about the job you did.  Here are some good questions to ask yourself:

Did I follow the assignment?  Did I meet the deadline?  Why or why not?  Did I include everything I was supposed to?

Did I follow the plan I set up in part one?  If I made changes during my project, why did I make those changes?  Would I make those changes again?

Did I use my own words when possible?  Did I cite my sources and give credit for other people's ideas?  

What did I learn about the topic I studied?  

What did I learn about myself as a researcher? What was the hardest part of the process?  What was the hardest?  What can I do next time to make it less hard?

If you would like more help with the research process and get some tips, don't worry!  We have more information for you.  Click here for additional help:

Research Process and Tips


Staff Login


Jeremy (Jet) Willette
Head Librarian and PK-8 Librarian

Peter Jacobson
High School Librarian


IT and Library Services will collaborate with and empower students and staff to transform curiosity, creativity and compassion into ideas or artifacts with personal, social, or global significance.