Guide to Academic Research at ARMS
Please use the SEARCH tool below to help you with your academic research project at Autumn Ridge Middle School.
1. Search for Sources: Click on any of the following research apps to help you find the best sources to learn more about the topic you are researching.
for encyclopedia and magazine articles, primary sources, images, and videos
for entire eBooks that can be cited, downloaded, and copied/saved into a folder
for videos, pictures, books, and magazines with adventures in science, nature, culture, and space
for current news articles, which includes print and audio and reference materials with definitions
Online books (text and audio versions)
2. Evaluate your sources using the CRAAP test: If you are using the search apps provided by your library, then you can rest assured that these sources are reliable, credible, and acceptable sources for your research project. However, if you want to use an outside resource, then you need to evaluate if this resource is the right one to utilize. When deciding, please use the CRAAP tool and the questions that go along with each letter to help you evaluate each source.
- Currency- The timeliness of the information. (When was the information published or posted? Has the information been revised or updated? Is the information current or out of date for the topic? Are the links functional?)
- Relevance- The importance of the information for your needs. (Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? Is the information at an appropriate level? Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one? Would you be comfortable using this source in your research paper and explaining it to others?)
- Authority- The source of the information. (Who is the author, publisher, source, and/or sponsor? Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given? What are the credentials or affiliations given? What are the author's qualifications for writing on this topic? Is there contact information such as a publisher or email address? Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?)
- Accuracy- The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content. (Where does the information come from? Is the information supported by evidence? Has the information been reviewed or referred to? Can you verify the information with another source? Does the language or tone seem biased or free of emotion?)
- Purpose- The reason the information exists. (What is the purpose of the information? Does the author or publisher make the purpose clear? Is the information fact? Propaganda? Does the point of view appear objective and impartial? Are there political, ideological, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
The CRAAP tool is adapted from the CRAP Test created by Librarian Molly Beestrum, Dominican University.
3. Access the Information: Using the rubric provided to you by your teachers, please access the information you need for the energy source you have been assigned.
4. Relevant Note-Taking: You want to avoid plagiarizing material when using sources in your research project. Here are some important things to do when you want to include someone else's information in your writing:
- Quote it? Copy the information exactly and place it in quotation marks, making sure to give credit to the author. You could include the words, "According to Charles Darwin" or "In his book, Origin of Species, Darwin states..." and then add in the quote. Keep quotes shorter than two or three sentences if possible.
- Summarize it! Sum up the main ideas in your own words. You will still give credit to the author of these ideas on your works cited page at the end.
- Paraphrase it! Restate the author's information in your own different words. You will still give credit to the author of these ideas on your works cited page at the end.
5. Cite Your Sources: At the end of your project, make sure that you provide MLA citations for your project on the Works Cited page. If you are using one of the sources provided to you by your librarian, then you can copy and paste the citation from the search app. If you need to create a citation, there are some websites that you can use to help you create a proper MLS citation. Try one of the sites below to make MLA citations:
Works cited pages should have the title on the top and the sources should be alphabetized. Here is an example:
6. Have I Completed My Task? Double-check to make sure you have checked off all the items required by your teacher in the Research Project rubric. It might be a good idea to have a parent or peer "Grade" you using the same rubric to see if there are any areas you can improve before turning in the finished product.