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Laurel School

Basic Library Research

Guiding Process

What is Basic Research?

The following questions are key to conducting research

  • What is basic research?

  • How do I conduct basic research?

  • How do I find online and physical materials in the library?

  • How do I organize my research results?

  • How do I learn a basic research skill set that I can apply going forward to build on?


  • Purchased by the school (databases AKA subscription databases)
  • Content reviewed by information professionals
  • Information is organized
  • Content is stable

What is a subscription database?

      A database is a collection of articles, usually from journals
      and magazines; can also include excerpts from encyclopedias and other reference sources.

Why use a database?

  • Information selected by professionals
  • Information from reference sources, academic journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.
  • The information is more organized than information on the web.  
  • The researcher benefits because more relevant results are obtained through use of keywords, authors, titles, and dates. 





Research Hints

Remember these two tips:

1. Use quotes when searching to keep phrases together.  Also, try to be as specific as possible.  For example, instead of civil war, search for "American Civil War"

2. Use Boolean operators (AND OR NOT).  You may also substitute their symbols:

  • For AND, use the plus sign +
  • For NOT, use the minus sign -

When searching in Google, remember to place the symbols right next to the search term.  This is especially helpful with the minus sign:

  • Washington -George


  • Free with internet access
  • Not reviewed regarding the content
  • Not organized
  • Continually changing and edited

What is a search engine?

      A search engine uses a program to search the internet to 
      match the keywords entered by the researcher.

Why use a search engine?

      Search engines are useful for finding information on 
      organizations, groups, and personal web pages related to a 
      topic. It can be challenging to confirm the legitimacy of 
      information found 
on the internet.  


Use CARRDSS to evaluate your sources

C REDIBILITY : Who is the author? What are his or her credentials? 
A CCURACY: Can facts, statistics, or other information be verified through other sources? Based on your knowledge, does the information seem accurate?
R ELIABILITY: Does the source present a particular view or bias?
R ELEVANCE: Does this information directly support my 
hypothesis/thesis or help to answer my question?
D ATE: When was this information created? When was it revised? Are these dates meaningful in terms of the subject matter?
S OURCES BEHIND THE TEXT: Did the author use reliable, credible sources?
S COPE: Does this source address my hypothesis/thesis/question in a comprehensive or peripheral way? Is it a scholarly or 
popular treatment?

Read the URL!

Read the URL

Being able to read the URL of a site will help you evaluate before you spend time working with it. The domain designation has information, as well as the grammar of the URL.

  • .com (commercial $)
  • .edu (education, most U.S. colleges)
  • .ac (academic institution not used in U.S.)
  • .org (any organization)
  • .net (internet / network – no specific designation)
  • .gov (government agency)
  • .mil (military institution - U.S.)

Indications you are on a personal page that should be scrutinized for bias, accuracy and authority.
Does the URL have a tilde: ~?
Does the URL have %?
Does the URL include a personal name?
Does the URL include words like: users, people or members?