Starting a research
project is easier
when you are
equipped with the
keywords and ideas
important to the
So where can you
start collecting this
type of information
for your research?
If you feel dismayed beginning a
research project, remember this, your
librarian is there to help you.
Stop by the reference desk, call 610-
341-1777 or email
However, there are resources you can
use, right now, to start you on your
Popular, consumer oriented,
information resources can unlock
words and ideas that are helpful in
understanding a subject.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries are
tertiary resources that provide terms,
names, dates and more to put your
research in perspective.
They provide a road map for
Start with Reference Works.
Good to a Point.
Never use a reference work as your
only or main source.
The information provided in
encyclopedias and dictionaries is too
general for serious research.
Reference works are
important sources for words
and ideas commonly
associated with a topic.
They are a place to begin!!
By gathering background
information you control the
course of the research.
Looks at the News Media
The popular media outlets report on
the issues that have changed the
150 years after the fact the
Gettysburg Address is still in the
Newspapers, magazines, and other
on-air or online news services
provide both secondary and tertiary
accounts of events.
The Internet provides access to
many digitized newspapers and
Articles and reports can provide a
historic perspective on a topic like
the Gettysburg Address.
The Internet Archive, The Library of
Congress’ Chronicling America and
Google’s Online Historical
Newspapers are useful resources.
Searching archives can lead to
exciting primary and secondary
In the early stages of gathering
background information, finding
authoritative information from the
World Wide Web is helpful.
But, with anything you find
from the Internet, it is
necessary to evaluate
information against other
authorities to assure the
quality of the information.
As with a reference work,
information from a single
website should not be the
sole basis for your
What constitutes an authoritative website?
• Trusted Domains
• Clearly states the author or organization behind the
information on the site
• Information is current
. gov - government sites
• Library of Congress
• National Archives
• Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
• National Park Services
Carries The Authority from Agencies Of The U.S. Government
Ultimate .gov Search
Search the entire .gov domain at
.gov offers trusted sites for all your studies
• Center for Disease Control (CDC)
• National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC)
• U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
• Arctic Research Commission (ARC)
• National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
• National Institutes of Health (NIH)
• Library of Congress (LOC)
.edu – academic sites
• Cornell University
• Smithsonian Institutes
• Pennsylvania State University
Associated With The Authority Of Various Academic Institutions
.edu trusted sited for all your studies
• Oncolink (University of Pennsylvania)
• The Perseus Project (Tufts University)
• eHistory (Ohio State University)
• Chronic Disease Management (University of California , Davis)
• HIVInsite – (University of California, San Francisco)
.org for organizations
for news and
Carries The Authority From Various Professional Organizations
.orgs for all your studies
Here are some examples.
• American Psychological Association
• American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
• Society of Biblical Literature
• National Association for Bilingual Education
• Oncology Nursing Society
Not every .org site is what it seems.
This site warns about the dangers of
Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO). The
site looks serious.
DHMO is also known as H20 or water.
Use commercial sites for news and
information. Here are some examples.
• Chronicle of Higher Education
• Science Daily
Carries the Authority of the For-Profit Sector
Remember commercial sites are in
business to make money.
Use reference and consumer oriented
information to gather ideas and
Use the ideas and keywords to
formulate a research topic.
Then search for the scholarly
information you’ll need to support your
A road map to begin.
Next we’ll look more closely at the scholarly
resources you’ll need to build your research paper.