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Davis Middle School Library: Research Help


Task Definition

  • Asks, Creates, and Refines Questions for Inquiry
  • Determines Path for Inquiry
  • Identifies Intended Audience
  • Understands Rubric Expectations and Product Components

Information Seeking/Location and Access

  • Understands the Organization of the Library
  • Identifies Possible Sources of Information
  • Seeks Information from Diverse Genres, Formats, and Points of View
  • Uses Information Seeking Strategies to Locate Information within a Variety of Sources
  • Evaluates Sources of Information

Use of Information

  • Makes Sense of Information by Clarifying Main and Supporting Ideas
  • Looks for Patterns and Connects Ideas Across Resources
  • Organizes Information by Using a Variety of Tools & Strategies
  • Uses Information Ethically

Synthesis and Sharing

  • Compares New ideas to Prior Knowledge and Draws Conclusions by Integrating New Ideas with Prior Knowledge
  • Creates Product to Express New Learning and Chooses Presentation Format Based on Requirements, Audience, and Personal Strengths


  • Reflects on the Inquiry Process

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Interenet Resources

Online Databases

Online Databases are a group of web subscription resources that the library has selected for patrons use.  The library pays the cost of the subscription to ensure that patrons have reliable resources to easily use.  Online Databases have been evaluated by the librarians to ensure their content is current, relevant, and meets the needs of the widest variety of patrons.  Online databases include encyclopedias, magazines, eBooks, and reference materials.  Patrons can use the information, pictures, diagrams, and videos found on the databases with confidence knowing that the information is of the highest quality.


Wikipedia is a free, open content online encyclopedia created through the collaborative effort of a community of users known as Wikipedians . Anyone registered on the site can create an article for publication; registration is not required to edit articles. The site's name comes from wiki, a server program that enables anyone to edit Web site content through their Web browser.  Users of Wikipedia need to remember that anyone can edit the information on the site so all entries need to be carefully evaluated.

Search Engines

A search engine is a web site that collects and organizes content from all over the internet. Those wishing to locate something enter a term for what they would like to find and the engine provides links to websites that have the same term somewhere on the website.  The problem with search engines is that the pages suggested are not selected for quality or relevance to what the person is looking for the suggestion is solely based on the term the person uses and how the engine ranks the pages.  Search engines tend to return a large number of results with the most popular or best matches for your words at the top.  When using a search engine the web pages must be individually evaluated by the user.

Search the Web: Google and more! Learn about search engines, metasearch engines, internet directories, and expert web searching.

Citation Generators

  • Noodletools (login through MIcrosoft 365)
  • MyBIib
    • Cite your sources and organize your notes.
    • Get help with MLA, APA and Chicago-style citations.
    • Collaborate in real-time from anywhere.

SIFT Method for Evaluating Information

Determining "good" information from "bad" can get tricky sometimes. One way to decide what's what is to use SIFT!

SIFT stands for:

  • Stop.
  • Investigate the source.
  • Find better or other sources.
  • Trace back to the original source to see quotes in their original context. 

S: Stop!

Before you share the article, the video, or react strongly to a headline, pause and ask yourself: 

  • Are you familiar with the website or information source where you're currently reading this information?  
  • What do you know about the reputation of the website or the claim/ being made?
    • If you don't know, then move on the following steps to figure out if the source and/or the claim/headline/report is trustworthy and factual. Don't read or share media until you know what it is! Throughout this process check your emotions and cognitive bias, and if you get overwhelmed take a second to remember your original purpose and try not to get side-tracked (it's easy to fall down rabbit holes sometimes!) 

Move on to the next step... 

I: Investigate the Source

You want to know what you're reading before you read it. 

  • Investigate the expertise and agenda of the source to determine its significance and trustworthiness. 
    • Use tools like Wikipedia.  You can add the word "wikipedia" to the base of the url or the author's name in the search bar.  For example if I wanted to figure out more information about an online news source I could type " wikipedia" in the search bar to find out more information about the source outside of the source (moving beyond the "About Us" section). 
    • On social media platforms like Twitter you can use what's called the hovering technique:

Move on to the next step... 

F: Find Better Coverage 

If your original source is questionable, find a better source to determine accuracy of claim.

Move on to the next step... 

T: Trace Claims, Quotes, and Media Back to the Original Context 

What's the original context? 

  • By finding the original source of reporting or the photo in question you can get a more complete picture of the issue or a research finding that is more accurate. Your aim here is to get to the the point where the people doing the writing are the people verifying the facts (the original reporting source).  
    • When reading online sources, pay attention to who they quote as a source and see if you can find more information. 
    • If there are hyperlinks in the source that point towards original studies or reporting go ahead and click on those to follow the chain to the original source.   
    • If there is a bibliography, open up the original reporting sources listed.  
    • Google key terms (or the actual terms) if the source has no mention of the origin.  
  • After you've found the original claim, quote, finding, or news story, ask yourself if it was fairly and accurately represented in the media that you initially came across. 

The SIFT method was created by Mike Caulfield.
All SIFT information on this page is adapted from his materials with a CC BY 4.0 license.

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).