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Help, My Research Paper is Due Workshop

Background Research on the Web

The Web. What is it Good For?

Search engines, like Google, and websites, like Wikipedia, can be very helpful when we are starting our research. Using Google and Wikipedia can help us to:

  • Learn the vocabulary that applies to our topic. Looking at a few sites on our topic can teach us the kinds of words and phrases that are used when writing about our topic. 
  • Get a big picture view of our topic. Looking through a relevant site, or two, should give us a clearer idea of what our topic is about and the kinds of smaller issues it includes.
  • Begin to gather some useful sources. We can use Google's Advanced Search to limit our searches to reputable sites (like .edu's or .gov's) and can look at the References in Wikipedia for credible sources.

Click into Google or Wikipedia to begin searching for background on our topic: reality television and stereotypes.

Google homepage          Wikipedia homepage


Finding Additional Background in Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias, in print or ebook form, are also great places to find vocabulary, topic overviews, and links to additional, credible sources. Gale Ebooks (formerly called Gale Virtual Reference Library) is an online collection of encyclopedias you can browse/search from anywhere.

Let's look for background on our media format, reality television, in Gale Ebooks:

Home screen of Gale Ebooks database