Tag Archives: research

Research Sources – Know the Difference

research sourcesResearch projects are an integral component of curriculum. Students select an area of inquiry and then they explore to investigate the topic. As educators, we focus on helping students to develop competent research strategies and prepare them for success. Students should recognize authentic, trustworthy sources. They should also be aware of the different types of resources: primary, secondary, and tertiary sources of information. And, searching these sources in a logical order promotes a systematic, proficient, and comprehensive understanding.

In TechnoBiography, students are guided through the research process. They begin by looking at sample biographies, then brainstorm, complete a planning organizer, and finally investigate all three different types of sources of online data – primary, secondary, and tertiary – in a structured order.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources

Primary Sources
Primary sources of information are original artifacts, documents, research sourcesrecordings, or other sources of information about a topic. They offer first hand, original evidence. For students studying a biography, here are some examples of primary sources:

What did the person say or write?

  • speech or transcript
  • journal article
  • diary entry
  • letter or email
  • notebook
  • postcard
  • interview
  • personal blog
  • telegram
  • autobiography
  • social media post by person
  • video testimonial
What documents relate to life events?

  • birth certificate
  • marriage license
  • school report card or diploma
  • contract or agreement
  • membership card
  • act or treaty
  • warrant
  • passport or citizenship certificate
  • driver’s license
  • property deed
  • baptism certificate
  • will
What did the person make?

  • book or poem
  • artwork
  • song sheet
  • play
  • manuscript
  • invention
  • architecture
What did the person do?

  • photograph
  • video footage of live event
  • audio recording of live event
  • newspaper article of live event
  • eyewitness account of live event
  • medieval tapestry
  • experiment results
What awards of recognition were given?

  • trophy or plaque
  • medal or prize
  • certificate of recognition
What items did the person own?

  • vehicle
  • clothing or jewelry
  • instrument

Primary Source Tips:

  1. Timing Matters: A primary source is created at the time of the event or shortly after.
  2. No Judgement: A primary source is raw data and has not been interpreted by someone else.
  3. Verify Authenticity: Check the source of the artifact. It should be posted by a reliable source such as a museum, reputable organization, or official fan club.
  4. Copy of Original: A primary source is often one-of-a-kind or rare. Since there is a limited number, the artifact can be the actual item, digital copy, or exact replica.

Secondary Sources
Secondary sources of information research sourcesare created after an event has occurred or by someone who did not experience or participate in the event first-hand. In the case of a biography, the information was written or recorded by someone else about the person. Secondary sources often include opinions about the event or person so they have value in analyzing its importance or significance.

  • biography
  • newspaper editorial
  • magazine story
  • movie of historical event
  • documentary
  • review
  • non-fiction book
  • expert commentary
  • social media post by others
  • fan website
Secondary Source Tips:

  1. Find Trustworthy Sources: Use secondary sources from universities, government agencies, historical societies, organizations, museums, biography TV networks, or official fan pages. Avoid sources where the author or creator is unknown.
  2. Consider the Perspective: The creator has a purpose for making the secondary source. These reasons may cause them to hide facts, distort events, or draw false conclusions. Look for sources that are objective and unbiased.
  3. Check References: A secondary source will often list books, websites, or other sources of information. Use them to research.

Tertiary Sources
Tertiary sources of information offer broad research sourcesintroductory overviews of a topic gathered from a variety of sources. They have usually been contributed to by a number of authors and reviewed to ensure accuracy. Examples are encyclopedias or dictionaries. Like secondary sources, they may contain an interpretation or evaluation in addition to facts.

Order is Important in Research

When conducting a research project, knowing the different types of sources of information is essential. But the resources should be used in a logical order too. Start with a basic outline, then move on to find out the importance of the topic, and finally explore the original evidence:

  1. Begin with tertiary sources to get a general summary from a variety of sources.
  2. Search secondary sources to gain a deeper understanding and discover other viewpoints and perspectives on the topic.
  3. Then examine primary sources to view first-hand, original artifacts or evidence. Study the raw data to draw your own conclusions.

Top 5 Free Citation Generators

TechnoResearch

Students researching an inquiry question or gathering information for a report must learn to cite the source of their data. This is especially true when using online resources. Readers may want to look at the references to find more details. Teachers may want to check that students have paraphrased the material into their own words. The good news is that citing reference sources is a quick and easy task when using digital tools.

A citation should have as much information as possible, including author’s name, date published, web page title or publisher, and the web address. There are many citation styles used to format the source. The most popular are APA and MLA. Each style has rules about where to put the information and type of punctuation to use.

Online citation generators save time. To use one:

  1. Choose the style of citation.
  2. Pick the type of resource. For a website, enter the URL.
  3. Fill in any missing information if you can.
  4. With the click of one button, the citation is created.
  5. Copy and paste it into your research project.

Try it! Here are five great citation and bibliography generators:

TechnoResearch is a TechnoKids Teach research skillstechnology project that teaches the steps of the research process. It can be applied to any curriculum area or topic. Students make a one page fact card and cite the sources of their information.

Research with Google Docs

Many projects require students to conduct research online. Google Docs has a research feature to help students to look for websites. The tool, which conveniently opens in a sidebar of the document, even allows the user to easily create a footnote citation in the body of the document to list the websites used.

NOTE: These instructions are outdated. The Research tool has been removed. It has been replaced with the Explore tool. At this time (03/02/2018), the Explore tool does not include the features listed in this post.

The following steps describe how to search for information, copy facts, and cite the source.

  1. Open your Google Apps document.
  2. From the Tools menu, pick Research.
  3. Type search term into Research box. Click the drop down box and select Everything.
  4. Research with Google Docx

  5. Search for Information
    • Scroll down to Web results.
    • When you find a site you might like, hold the cursor over it.
    • Click Preview to see a preview pane of the site.
    • Research with Google Docx

    • Click on the page to open it in a new browser tab or close the pane to make another choice.

  6. Copy Facts
  7. Never plagiarize.

    • Scan the site to look for important facts.
    • When you find an important fact, click and drag to select it.
    • Right click and select Copy.
    • Close the browser tab of the website to go back to the organizer.
    • Click in the place in the organizer where the information should go.
    • Right click and select Paste.

  8. Cite the Source
  9. Cite the Source

    • Locate the source of the information in the Research pane. Tip: There is a red bar beside the last site that was previewed.
    • Hover the cursor over the site. Click Cite.
    • Cite the Source

    • What happens? A number indicating a footnote appears beside the fact. At the bottom of the page is a citation. It identifies the website where the fact was copied.

    Choose citation format

  10. Continue to research your topic.

TechnoMap and TechnoTimeline are designed for use with G Suite or Microsoft Office. Students can use the research tool and apply their skills using these projects.