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8th Grade: Research Resources: Research 101

A guide to research basics including citations, primary/secondary sources, and evaluation tips, plus information on your eBook account.

Where Should I Start?

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

Narrative Books

*2020/21 note: US may check out books from the Town Library through the Homeroom Delivery form


Search Engines

If you're going to use a search engine, you'll get better results if you follow these tips:


How to be a Google Power User

(click to expand)



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: