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
You can also request and individual
consultation with a librarian.
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 ideas
Start with Reference Works.
Good to a Point
Never use a reference work as your
only or main source.
The information provided in an
encyclopedia or dictionary is too
general for serious research.
Reference works are
important sources for ideas
commonly associated with a
They are a place to begin!!
By gathering background
information you control the
course of the research.
Look at the News Media
The popular media reports on the
issues that have changed the world.
150 years after the fact, the
Gettysburg Address is still in the
Newspapers, magazines and other
news services provide both
secondary and tertiary accounts of
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 these digitized archives
can lead to exciting primary and
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 the
information against other
authorities to assure
authority and reliability.
As with any reference
work, information from a
single website should not
be the sole basis for your
There are trustworthy websites!
Look for these clues when evaluating a website.
• Clearly documented authorship or organizational
authority behind the information on the site
• Trusted Domains (.edu or .gov)
• Currency of the information
. gov - government sites
• Library of Congress
• National Archives
• Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
• National Park Services
Carries The Authority of Agencies of the U.S. Government.
Ultimate .gov Search
Search the entire .gov domain using
USA.gov! This is the most inclusive tool
for finding information carrying the
authority of the of the U.S. Government.
.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)
• The US Small Business Administration (SBA)
• Arctic Research Commission (ARC)
• National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
• National Institutes of Health (NIH)
• Library of Congress (LOC)
• National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
.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)
• Voice of the Shuttle (University of California , Santa Barbara)
• HIVInsite – (University of California, San Francisco)
• World History for Us All (San Diego State University)
• Smithsonian Institution (si.edu)
.org for organizations
for news and
Carries The Authority of 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
• National Association of Social Workers
Not every .org site is credible.
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 with caution.
Use reference and consumer oriented
information to gather ideas and
Use the ideas and keywords you have
gathered 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
Revised Wednesday, February 4, 15.