C. Munzenmaier Urbandale, IA

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Resources for Research

Need help finding information on your topic? These links will get you started.

Finding Sources

Taking Notes

Citing Information

Software (free)

Just for Fun

Finding Information

Finding Information on Current Issues

  • Annenberg Public Policy Center (research on political communication, information and society, media and the developing child, health communication and adolescent risk)
  • Policy Issues (National Center for Policy Analysis)
  • Psychology Topics (APA's collection of research about how psychology affects everday lives. Topics include money, stress, and law and justice.)
  • Public Agenda Research Reports (nonpartisan public opinion research about critical issues)
  • Search on Topix, which returns most recent results first.
  • Try searching for your topic + "think tank" or "position paper" (e.g., immigration + "think tank")

Finding Information in Specific Areas


Criminal Justice Resources


Information Technology Resources

Legal Resources

Medical Sciences Resources




Pro/Con Opinions


Judging the Quality of Sources

Citing Information

APA Style

Quick References
 Online Guides and Cheatsheets

Online Tutorials

Model Papers
 Free Software
  • Bedford Bibliographer (most reliable of the free citation makers; will save reference lists and notes)
  • BibMe (will autofill citations for books; saves and download reference lists; does not handle sources with no date well)
  • Citation Machine (enter information about your source and get both reference list entries and parenthentical citations; be sure to double-check results) video demo (.swx)
  • NoodleBib Express (creates Bluebook citations; free version lets you cut-and-paste; individual subscription allows you to save citations) video demo (.swx)
  • Free Plagiarism Checker (short passages)
  • Plagiarism Self-Detection Test (if you're having trouble putting sources into your own words, you might try this tool from Dr. Glatt)



Working with Sources


MLA Style

Taking Notes

Avoiding Plagiarism

Working with Quotations

Search Engine Tips

  • If you're having trouble finding keywords:
    • SortFix will suggest power words.
    • Visit KwMap, which creates a map of words related to your search term. Use a search engine that clusters results, such as Clusty. Use the folder names as keywords. Try Ask.com; its natural language search often comes up with hits that other search engines miss.
    • Use a tilde (the ~ symbol on the top left of your keyboard) to get Google to find synonyms for your search term (e.g., a search for ~"lie detector" will return hits for polygraph as well).
  • If you're getting too many results:
    • Use a minus sign or NOT (depending on the search engine) to exclude terms (e.g., spears -Britney).
    • Visit WhoNu, which lets you limit your search to titles or organize results in timeline view. Add intitle to a Google search to restrict your search to Web page titles (e.g., intitle:"obesity epidemic").
    • Restrict Google searches to certain domains with site (e.g.,intitle:forensics site:gov) Useful domains include edu (educational institutions); gov (government), and mil (military).
  • If you need more scholarly sources, try EBSCO, InfoMine, or Google Scholar.
  • If you're not getting enough hits, try using a meta-search engine, such as Vivisimo, IxQuick, or Metacrawler. Get an overview of a topic with Kosmix. (Be sure to screen the results; sources are of mixed type and quality.) Search within a date range on Google or get most recent results first at Topix. Find professional and peer-reviewed articles at Scholar Google and Find Articles (which allows you to restrict your search to free articles). Find free articles about business and recreation at MagPortal.com.When you find a search that works, set up a Google alert. Two blogging search engines are Technorati.com and Blogpulse.com. If you're researching a cutting-edge topic, blogs might be a good source. However, ask some questions before trusting a blog: What are the blogger's credentials? What do others in the field think about the blogger or the topic? (One hint: if others quote or link to the blog, that adds credibility.) Become a power-searcher by checking the advanced search options, reading Searching the Internet Effectively, or searching for tutorials on your favorite search engine, such as Google Guide. Check Nielsen's search engine ratings.
  • Use a search engine specializing in your subject area:
  • Keep up with the latest search engines:

Just for Fun



Copyright in these materials belongs to C. Munzenmaier © 2010.
Teachers are free to reproduce or modify them for nonprofit educational use.

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