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Library Resources

Steps to Research

List of 8 items.

  • 1. Select a Topic

    Your teacher may provide you with guidelines or a list of topics. If you're unsure which topic you'd like to select, one way to learn a lot about a topic quickly is to read the encyclopedia article on it.
  • 2. Gather Sources of Information

    You may need to gather information from many sources. You may first want to see if there is a subject guide for your assignment, which may list sources that will be useful for your specific assignment.

    Never be afraid to ask the librarian for help!
  • 3. Cite Your Sources

    Citations reflect the work you put into your project and give credit to the authors. You must cite when you quote, paraphrase, or summarize.  Even if you changed the words, you need to give credit to the source where the idea originated. Failure to provide citations is plagiarism.   This is cheating and unacceptable. 

    Fortunately, there are lots of resources to help you cite your sources.  Most databases have citation information provided so all you need to do is copy & paste it into your Works Cited page.  Other times, you will need to assemble the citation on your own, such as for book or Web sources.  You can consult the MLA Handbook (www.mla.org) or you can use NoodleTools.
  • 4. Take Notes

    Once you have a list of sources, you can begin taking notes. Using note cards to take notes is a good idea because they make it easier for you to sort and arrange your notes as you build your outline in Step 5. You can use regular index cards to take notes or use virtual note cards in NoodleTools. Careful note-taking helps you avoid accidental plagiarism.

    Read More
  • 5. Organize Your Notes

    One way to organize your notes is in the form of an outline. If possible, it may be helpful to you to create a basic outline before you gather all your notes. This can help you stay focused on only the information relevant to your paper and ignore information that is not. An outline is the blueprint of your paper. The more detailed your outline is, the easier it will be to write your paper.

    Each outline will be different, but generally, you start by listing your main topics. Then, below your main topics, you list the details that you've found to support each main point. Each main topic will likely become its own paragraph in your essay. Your teachers and the librarian can help you create an outline for your particular assignment.

    Read More
  • 6. Write, Edit, and Re-Write!

    If you've taken good notes (using paraphrases and keeping track of your sources) and organized them well according to your outline, you'll almost be able to put together a rough draft from the note cards alone! You'll need to add in transitions between notes and topics so that your paper flows well.

    Some MLA Formatting Details
    • Margins: One-inch margins all around (not including page numbers)
    • Text: Chose a standard typeface like Times New Roman or Arial, font size 12. Align left.
    • Heading: Don't include a title page. Your full heading (name, teacher's name, class name, and date) should only appear on your first page. It should be aligned left and double spaced.
    • Title: Center the title. Do not italicize, underline, bold, type in all capitals, or put quotes around your title (unless a part of the title receives special treatment according to MLA guidelines).
    • Page Numbers: Include your last name and page numbers in your header. To make the page numbers ascend, select the pound icon (#) after you've typed your last name and one space. Align right.
    • Works Cited Page: Include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper. If you've been using NoodleBib, you can Print/Export this document right into your word processing program. The Works Cited page should be on it's own page. You can insert a page break in your word processor to force this.
    Read More
  • Additional Resources

    Finkle, David Lee. Writing Extraordinary Essays: Every Middle Schooler Can! New York: Scholastic, 2008. (Call # 808 FIN)

    Francis, Barbara. Other People's Words: What Plagiarism Is and How to Avoid It. Berkley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2005. (Call # 808 FRA)
    Gibaldi, Joseph, ed. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2009. Print. (Call # 808.027 MLA)

    Lester, James D., Jr., and James D. Lester, Sr. Research Paper Handbook. 3rd ed. Tucson: Good Year Books, 2005. Print. (Call # 808.02 LES)

    Orr, Tamra. Extraordinary Essays. New York: Scholastic, 2005. (Call # 808.4 ORR)

    OWL at Perdue. "Writing a Research Paper." Purdue Online Writing Lab. Perdue University, 2011. Web. 18 Feb. 2011.

    Terban, Marvin. Ready! Set! Research! New York: Scholastic, 2007. (Call # 808.042 TER)
  • Overview


List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • What are citations?

    Citations reflect the work you put into your project and give credit to authors and creators.
  • When do I need citations?

    You must cite when you quote, paraphrase, or summarize. Even if you changed the words, you need to give credit for the source where the idea originated. Failure to provide citations is plagiarism. This is cheating and is unacceptable.
  • How do I cite?

    No need to fear citations!

    Most databases have citation information provided so that all you need to do is copy & paste it into your Works Cited page.

    NoodleTools helps you generate citations quickly and accurately and contains information from MLA and APA handbooks within. 

    Keep reading for more information.

  • What is NoodleTools?

    NoodleTools is a comprehensive MLA and APA bibliography composer with fully-integrated note-taking and outline-making capabilities.

    After logging into the Grier School account, you can log into your individual account. The first time you use NoodlbeTools, you must create a personal ID and password. I suggest using your Grier email username as your personal ID. Contact the librarian if you need to access NoodleTools off the Grier Network or if you need to reset your NoodleTools password.
  • How do I cite a book with one author or editor in MLA style?

    Author Last Name, First Name. Title. City of Publication, Publisher, Date.  

    Parks, Peggy JImpressionism. Detroit, Thomson Gale, 2007.  

    • If the book has an editor instead of an author, follow the person's name with "ed."  
    • If Peggy J. Parks were an editor, the citation would look like:  Parks, Peggy J., ed.Impressionism.  Detroit, Thomson Gale, 2007.  
  • How do I cite a book with two or more authors in MLA style?

    Birks, Jane and Fiona Hunt.Hands-On Information Literacy Activities.  New York, Neal-Schuman, 2003. 

    • Only reverse the order of the first author's name
    • List authors in the order they are listed in the source
    • If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names. 
  • How do I cite a webpage in MLA style?

    You must cite Web pages you have used in your research.

    Author Last Name, First Name. "Web Page Title." Website Name, Date of Publication, url. Date of Access.
    Atsma, Aaron J.  “Athene.”  Theoi Greek Mythology, 2017https://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Athena.html. 15 January 2020.

    Citing Web pages can be more difficult than citing printed works or items from electronic databases.
    This is because the publishing industry has standards about what information must be present on a book or magazine. There aren't enforced standards on websites, so some sites will provide less citation information than others. It is your responsibility as a researcher to find as much information as possible about a source.

    Be a detective!
    Look at the top & bottom of the page for author and date information. If you cannot find it there, try an "About," "FAQ," or "Contact" link to see if you can find an individual author or corporate author name.
  • How do I cite a digital image in MLA style?

    Images are protected by copyright, which means you must contact the owner to use or reproduce (copy) the image. Fortunately, school assignments are exempt from this rule. That means that for school assignments, you:
    • Don’t need to get written permission from the creator
    • Do need to give credit to the original creator
    Avoid plagiarism and give credit by including a citation in your work.

    Photographer/Artist Last Name, First Name. Description or Title of Image. Date of Image. Name of Web Site, Date of Publication. url. Date of access. 

    It can be very difficult to find all this information on most of the images that are posted on the Web. At a minimum, you should be able to supply:
    • image name (file name)
    • the website name
    • date you viewed it
    • URL
    Library databases have images that ALREADY contain the citation information for you. All you have to do is copy & paste this information into your works cited or NoodleBib.
    • AP Images
    • EB Online
    • eLibrary

Websites in Research

List of 7 items.

  • Introduction

    Most of us use websites every day.  The World Wide Web contains vast amounts of data, but it can be a challenge to find useful & reliable information for schoolwork and research. Experts believe there is more "fake news" online and that it can be spread virally through social media.

    To conduct more efficient research on the Web, you can employ special search strategies.  After you've mastered the art of searching and have located a few potential sites, you'll need to evaluate them to determine if the information is reliable.
  • Print vs. Web

    Before the Web, if you wanted to spread information to a lot of people you could either self-publish or submit your manuscript to publishing companies and hope that one of them wanted to turn your work into a book.

    Self-publishing is expensive and usually doesn't result in massive sales, so most books and magazines we encounter have been published by large companies. Publishing companies have a reputation to maintain. If a company produced novels with lots of typos, recipes with the wrong measurements, or books with incorrect information, customers would stop buying materials from that company. In the interest of staying in business, publishing companies are very selective about what information they publish. They also hire editors and proofreaders to make sure everything is accurate. By the time a book, magazine, or newspaper appears on the shelf of a bookstore, it has passed through many hand to make a refined, quality product. Books that appear in libraries have been selected with additional care.
    Read More
  • Why do we like to use websites for research?

    So, if information on the Web is not as reliable as information from publishers, why do we all turn to the Web for information? CONVENIENCE! It's much easier to do a quick Google search than to run down to my local bookstore or library and scan the shelves.

    Fortunately, companies have noticed that many consumers prefer to get information online and have adapted accordingly. Much of the information that is available in printed format is now also available digitally. Some of these publications, especially periodicals like magazines and newspapers, are collected in databases. Databases are excellent for research and allow users to search through massive amounts of publications quickly. Another way publishers have adapted is to provide eBooks. eBooks are just digital versions of print books. So, even though you are online using the Internet when you are looking at articles in online databases or eBooks on your eReader device, you are not looking at a "Web page." While individuals can afford personal eBooks, most cannot afford online databases. Luckily, libraries can and do!
  • How can I search better?

  • What is misinformation?

    There are lots of terms for what is more or less the same thing: misinformation, propaganda, fake news, and deceptive news.

    Here are some examples:

  • How do I evaluate websites?

    Basic Web Site Evaluation Criteria
     Relevance / Usefulness
    Is the information on the site relevant to your topic? 

    Is it written at a level you can comprehend?

    Is the information detailed enough for your purpose?

    Is the purpose of the site to educate or inform?
    • Keywords
    • Text body
    • FAQs
    • About the site
     AuthorityWho wrote the information on this site?

    Are they an expert?  Are they qualified to write about this topic?  How do you know?

    Is there a group instead of an individual responsible for the content?  Who?

    Is the information well-written, with proper spelling and grammar?

    • Bottom of the page
    • By-line
    • Individual name
    • Corporate name
    • Home page
    Does this site provide factual information on all sides of an issue, or just one?

    Does this site express opinions more often than facts?

    Is the purpose of the site to persuade or convince you of one idea? 

    Is the purpose of the site to sell you something?

    Is this site affiliated with another organization or company?  What is their purpose?
    • About the site
    • Opinions
    • Advertisements
    • Text body
     CurrentWhen was this site last updated?

    Is it updated regularly?

    Is this site too out-of-date for your topic?
    • Bottom of the page
    • Home page
    • Copyright date
    • Published date
  • Fact Checking Sites


    Politifcat  & SciCheck


Find a Book

List of 3 items.

  • Use Destiny to learn the book's status and call number.

    • What is the book's status?  IN or OUT? 
    • What is the book's call number?
    A call number is a book's address. Use the call number to locate the book on the shelf.
  • Library Sections

    • Fiction books (stories, novels) are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name.
    • Non-Fiction books (informative, factual) are arranged according to a numeric system called the Dewey Decimal System.
    • Some books are in special sections, like Picture Books and Reference Books.
  • Find your book!

    Look at the number range signs on the ends of the bookshelves to narrow your search and then pinpoint your title on the shelf.


List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • What is plagiarism?

    Plagiarism is stealing. It is taking the work or ideas of someone else and passing them off as your own. It is failing to give credit where credit is due.
  • How can I use someone else's ideas without plagiarizing?

    You can include another person's ideas in your papers a few different ways. In every case, you must cite the original source of the information:
    • Summary - Condense the main ideas into a very short form using your own words.
    • Paraphrase - Restate the author's idea using your own words. To paraphrase well, you should first read a piece of information, then look away and write down what you understood. Finally, look back to make sure you understood correctly.
    • Direct Quotation - Avoid using lengthy quotations or too many quotes in your papers. For a research paper, a good rule of thumb is no more than one direct quote per page. If you must quote someone, copy their words exactly and put quotation marks around them.
  • Can I see some examples?


    Original Passage:
    About 621 BC an important step in the direction of democracy was taken, when the first written laws in Greece were compiled from the existing traditional laws. This reform was forced by the peasants to relieve them from the oppression of the nobles. The new code was so severe that the adjective “draconic,” derived from the name of its compiler, Draco, is still a synonym for “harsh.” Unfortunately, Draco's code did not give the peasants sufficient relief. A revolution was averted only by the wise reforms of Solon, about a generation later. Solon's reforms only delayed the overthrow of the aristocracy, and about 561 BC Pisistratus, supported by the discontented populace, made himself tyrant. With two interruptions, Pisistratus ruled for more than 30 years, fostering commerce, agriculture, and the arts and laying the foundation for much of Athens' future greatness. His sons Hippias and Hipparchus attempted to continue their father's power. One of them was slain by two youths, Harmodius and Aristogiton, who lived on in Greek tradition as themes for sculptors and poets. By the reforms of Clisthenes, about 509 BC, the rule of the people was firmly established.

    The article on “Ancient Greece” in Compton’s Encyclopedia, describes the evolution of Greek democracy.  In 621BC, the first written laws were created by Draco to help the peasants, but these laws did not do enough.  In revolt, the people supported the long, prosperous reign of tyrant Pisistratus.  Nearly a century after Draco’s code, reforms under Clisthenes established democracy in Athens.

    60 words

    One of the first steps towards democracy in Ancient Athens was when the urging of oppressed peasants led to the first written law.  Although these laws compiled by Draco were harsh, they did not satisfy the peasants completely.  Despite the following ruler Solon’s efforts, the peasants supported a tyrant named Pisistratus. Once in power, he ruled almost continuously for 30 years and brought wealth and renown to Athens.  His sons Hippias and Hipparchus tried to continue his rule, but one of them was killed.  Finally, with his reforms in nearly a century after Draco’s code, Clisthenes fully established democracy (“Ancient Greece” Compton’s).

    99 words

    Direct Quotation:
    One of the first steps towards democracy in Ancient Athens was when the urging of oppressed peasants led to the first written law.  As described by Compton’s Encyclopedia, “The new code was so severe that the adjective ‘draconic,’ derived from the name of its compiler, Draco, is still a synonym for ‘harsh.’” Compton’s continues to describe how Draco’s code was insufficient and did not prevent a peasant-supported tyrant’s rise to power before Clisthenes fully established democracy around 509BC. 

    "Ancient Greece." Compton's by Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011. http://school.eb.com/all/comptons/article-9274648.


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