Research

Evaluating websites

This is the checklist that our fifth graders are using to evaluate websites found during searches and determine reliability. The biggest lesson: don't rely on just one website; check multiple sources (books, databases, websites, etc.) for multiple perspectives and verification of facts. 

Search Strategies

Often, a good starting point is an online encyclopedia article, to define the topic broadly and see photos or videos about it. See Online Resources for complete lists of encyclopedias available to the WIS community. Avoid using Wikipedia since it is not a professionally edited source and we can't be sure the information is accurate, current, credible or written for children. 

Next, check the WIS library catalog to find books on your topic. (Little known fact: our library catalog is also the place to search for websites! See more information on it below.) We also recommend you check your public library for books. 

Websites often have great information, but remember, not all websites are accurate, true, or appropriate for students. The best approach is to consult websites recommended by your librarians and teachers or found by searching Webpath ith selected sites for children such as kids.yahoo.com (formerly Yahooligans). Avoid Google and other like search engines since some of the content is not appropriate for students and it can be very difficult to tell what's unbiased and credible.

There are many other sources of information! Depending on your topic, you may be visiting museums, interviewing experts, viewing art, etc.. For good educational videos, try BrainPop or National Geographic. Use YouTube only with your parents' permission, as not all content is appropriate for children.

Finding Photos/Images You Can Use

All PS students should search the subscription database ImageQuest first for photos. If additional photos are needed, you can try these free web sites that contain fair use or copyright cleared images. You can also find images from Creative Commons by using their browser extension (links to install are just before "Key Features" section).

Be careful; these web sites could have content not appropriate for students. 
Remember, we also expect you to give credit to the creators whenever possible.
ethical Google image search tool

Research Model

We can use AGOPPE to help us through our research process:

Ask Questions

  • Be curious!
  • Explore your subject (read, watch, listen and think)
  • Develop good questions

Gather Information

  • Identify keywords about subject
  • Look at useful sources (books, online databases, etc.)
  • Search for and browse information
  • Read/watch/listen and take notes on relevant information

Organize Information

  • Use graphic organizer or note cards to organize information and ideas
  • Summarize your findings
  • Draw conclusions
  • Cite your sources

Prepare

  • Decide what format to communicate what you've learned
  • Prepare a first draft and revise it with improvements
  • Finish final product
  • Include a "Sources" Used" list

Present

  • Share your final product with your audience
  • Receive comments and answer questions

Evaluate

  • Reflect on your research process and your final product