For best results, please use a browser more recent than Internet Explorer 8.

Use to search for data sources on the World Wide Web. Type the subject of the search into the box then press Enter key or click the Search button.

Picture galleries, advertisements and many websites have been blocked because some of their content may be inappropriate for students. Within appropriate websites text and pictures can be viewed and then can be copied and pasted into a document in your computer.

When you find information on a web page that you may use in a report, copy the content of interest as well as the web page address (URL) and save in a document in a project folder in your home folder.

Please restrict your searches to assigned topics. if you find inappropriate content, tell the teacher immediately so that web page can be blocked.

Go to search site.

Research Papers

Student research papers must include facts to support the points made in the paper. The facts have to be accurate and from sources that can be verified by the teacher. This page suggests a procedure that will assist the student in finding data on the Web and determining if it is accurate and complete.

 How do I find data on the Web to support the points in my research paper?

  • Define and understand thesis and scope of my topic. Scope is the area covered by my topic, such as time, size, demographic, geographic, etc.
  • Develop a list of keywords that describe the topic. 

Tip: Before starting research, create a new project folder in my home folder to hold all files related to this research paper.

  • Use the browser software (Examples: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari) to access the Internet.
  • Within the browser
    • specify the web address or URL (uniform resource locator) of a specific website I want to visit
    • or, use a search engine program. Examples: Google, Bing, Yahoo, (The Google Chrome browser has a built-in search engine.)
      • Type one or more of the keywords into the search engine's Search for box; then click the Search button. Usually the more words entered in the Search for box, the more restrictive the search becomes and the fewer results (or "hits") will be listed. If there are no hits, reduce the number of words in the Search for box. (Each of the hits refers to a specific web page.)
      • Look down the results list, reading the short description related to each hit.
      • Double-click on one of the hits and the browser will display the related web page
    • Does the data on the web page relate directly to my topic? If so save the data on the page along with the URL of the page
      • Right click the webpage, select Save Page As ... then save in my project folder.
      • Or, select the interesting data from the page and paste it into a new Word document. Then copy the URL displayed in the browser and paste it into the Word document after the word Source:. Save the Word document in my project folder.

Evaluate the data: Is it accurate?

  • Does the data seem too good to be true? What does common sense tell me?
  • Is data based upon fact or opinion?
  • Can I trust the source of this data?
    • Who is the author? Who is the publisher? Do they have a good reputation? Websites: Wikipedia, encyclopedias, universities and schools, governments, companies and people.
    • Can anyone edit the website or only experts.
    • Is the data being presented by a first-hand observer or someone else. 
    • Is the data peer reviewed
    • If the data is the result of an experiment or survey, has the data been duplicated by someone else?
  • Is the author biased?
    • The author may have strong feelings about a topic and these feelings may affect how the author describes a topic. Bias may be intentional or unintentional. Bias usually results in overemphasis of the positive and underemphasis of the negative aspect of a topic (or vice versa). Bias may appear similar to incomplete coverage of a topic.
    • Am I biased? Do I accept equally the positive and negative data related to my topic?
  • Is the data intentionally wrong? For instance, a hoax or urban legend. Or, are headlines exaggerated to motivate me to visit a website or buy a newspaper?
  • The best method to verify the accuracy of the data is to find two other unrelated sources (websites or other media)  that confirm the original data. Find the origin of the data, if possible, and cite that data source in your paper.
  • Do any sources dispute this data? If so, that may be an indication that the data is inaccurate.
  • Save the verifying or disputing data file in my project folder along with the original data file. Record the results of the  evaluation in a notes document in my project folder.

Evaluate the data: Is it complete?

  • Does the data evenly emphasize positive and negative aspects of the topic?
  • Is the data consistent with the scope of my topic?
  • Find two other sources that verify the data. Is their scope similar? Save in my project folder
  • Should I research other media to get more complete data? Consider sources such as newspapers, magazines, books and personal interviews.
  • Use Microsoft Word to record the results of my evaluation in a notes document in my project folder.