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Research Process (Inquiry Process and Design Cycle)  

Last Updated: May 2, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Types of Resources




What is the difference? Click on the link below to find out!

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources
University of Maryland, University Libraries

Primary Research

Purdue University Online Writing Lab 


    Search Strategies

    • Locate and search appropriate resources
    • Vary search terms (don't use the same search terms over and over again)
    • Think of synonyms
    • Use Boolean searching
    • Use "quotation marks" to search for exact phrases
    • Search for a variety of sources - print text, video, audio, still images, speeches, interviews, charts, graphs, research and case studies, and more!
    • Be creative

      Invisible Web

      in addition to using the resources below, try incorporating the following words into your search phrases:

      • database
      • archive
      • collection

      Explore, Locate, and Evaluate

      *Explore a variety/range of resources - text, visual, online, offline, objects, and more!

      *Locate useful information by using key words and a planned search strategy!

      *Use specific criteria to evaluate the usefulness and reliability of the information resource.


        Resource vs. Source

        A RESOURCE has the potential to provide needed information.

        Once a specific article, book, video, interview, or other information entity is selected to be used by the researcher, it becomes a SOURCE.

        Print Resources

        Not everything has been digitized....yet!

        Use DESTINY (the MCPS Library Catalog) to search for print books or visit a library at a local university.

        Subscription Databases

        Not all information is free online!  Some resources are only available to those having paid a fee or to those having been given a username & password.  Springbrook, MCPS, and the State of Maryland have purchased subscriptions to specific databases for both student and staff use.  

        • newspaper articles
        • magazine articles
        • journal articles
        • books
        • videos
        • audio
        • links to recommended websites 
        • ....and more!

        Visit the Media Center's Subscription Database webpage!



          Books in electronic format are available on the Media Center's E-book webpage:

          • Help in Understanding Romeo and Juliet
          • The Great Gatsby (Critical Insights)
          • The Metamorphosis (Critical Insights)
          • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Critical Insights)
          • The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders
          • Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History
          • Gender in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun
          • Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire,
          • Harlem Renaissance,
          • Human and Civil Rights: Essential Primary Sources,
          • and many, many, more!

          No check-outs and no returns necessary :)


            Free Online Resources

            There is a lot of free information online...some of it is reliable, some of it is not.

            Take a moment to read the 'About Us' information every time you use a website.

            • Who is providing the information?
            • Where did the author find his/her facts, data, information?
            • What is the purpose of the site?
            • When was the site last updated?
            • What is the possible bias?

            Be smart! Should you trust the site or move on to another one?


              Giving Credit to Others

              When you use someone else's words, work, thoughts, and/or ideas, you need to give the person credit.  It doesn't matter whether you quote the person word-for-word or put it in your own words (paraphrase), you need to acknowledge where the words, work, thought, or idea originated.  Otherwise, you are passing it off as your own.

              Be responsible.

              Be honest.

              Show integrity.


              Record Bibliographic Information

              Don't forget to record the following for each source you use:

              • Author/creator
              • Title of article, chapter, film, webpage
              • Page number
              • Name of magazine, newspaper, journal, book, website
              • Publication date
              • Name of subscription database (if used)
              • Format (web, print)
              • Date of access (if found online)

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