Below are steps to conduct basic research using the model from the Society of College, National and University Libraries. As explained in The Information Literacy User's Guide, the model is called the "Seven Pillars of Information Literacy". If you need clarification on the process, you can refer to the sections in the open access textbook: The Information Literacy User's Guide. The page numbers are listed accordingly with each step.
Learn the process and practice it. You can apply the process to any research assignment in high school and in college!
Step 1: Identify: Understanding your information need
Textbook p. 8
Ask yourself what you already know about the research topic. Identify gaps in knowledge. Use background research to come up with a draft research question or topic phrases.
Step 2: Scope: Knowing what is available
Textbook p. 16
Become familiar with your school and/or public library and the resources available to you. Ask for help from reference librarians. Know where to find the library catalog and databases.
Step 3: Plan: Developing research strategies
Textbook p. 28
Become familiar with library catalog and database features. Use synonyms to expand concepts. Create a Boolean search. Here is the strategy for a successful search: p. 44.
Topic: climate change and policies
"climate change" AND policies
"global warming" AND laws
Step 4: Gather: Finding what you need
Find resources (articles, books, websites or data) for the assignment. Look for academic sources. Do not use Wikipedia as a source.
Step 5: Evaluate: Assessing your research process and findings
Use the CRAAP test as a guide to help you evaluate resources. (See section on the CRAAP method below.)
Step 6: Manage: Organizing information effectively and ethically
Textbook p. 91
Keep track of your sources to avoid unintentional plagiarism. Use index cards to record information about your sources. Use a citation management software like Easybib to help with citing sources.
Step 7: Present: Sharing what you have learned
The list of questions below was developed by the Meriam Library at California State Library. Although some of the questions will apply when evaluating websites, most of the questions are useful when evaluating other sources (books, articles) as well.
THE CRAAP TEST
Currency: the timeliness of the information
Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs
Authority: the source of the information
Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
Purpose: the reason the information exists