Use this simple Q&A to help determine what sources to begin with for more traditional research questions:
Q: How much do you know about the topic?
A: I know almost nothing, not even the major people/places/dates or basic keywords.
Start with REFERENCE sources.
Reference sources contain basic facts without discernable bias or thesis. Entries are usually short. Use reference sources to generate a list of search terms.
A: I know a little, from class and from the textbook, plus I read the Wikipedia article.
You want NONFICTION books or articles. Nonfiction sources may be biased, but will broaden your understanding of the topic.
A: I know a lot about my topic, but I need to get more details, formulate my thesis, and get up-to-the-minute information.
PERIODICAL DATABASES are your friend. You will find news, magazine, and scholarly articles that may include a specific perspective and possibly more details than many of the books you have consulted.
credit: Karyn Silverman, LREI
The Town School Library has an array of databases, encyclopedias, and digital resources for you to use 24/7. You can find a list of resources under Library Online on the Library page on TownToday.
Here are a few databases of particular interest for 8th grade research: