The following research and study tips are provided as a guide for students to enable them to become ‘web literate’ as they filter and critically evaluate websites in gathering information for projects and assignments.
The “Learn Skills” section on the ‘ergo’ website – managed by the State Library of Victoria -provides excellent guides to assist students of all levels with their research and study needs. There are also a number of other online sites which may assist and these are listed below.
When researching your topic follow these 6 steps, from ‘Learn Skills’, which will assist you in defining the task at hand and find reliable information.
- Define – Understand exactly what the question is asking, so you know how to answer it really well. Break it down into manageable sections if necessary, write down some keywords and use these in searches, think about what you already know about your topic and where you might seek clarification, and don’t forget to ask your teacher if you need help.
- Locate – Find great resources quickly and easily with some simple search techniques. Do you have some keywords to use in your search and/or do you need to broaden or widen your search terms? Are there any specific databases or sites that you may have been directed to use? Can you use a primary source (person or organisation) to gather this information? Have you asked for help from your teacher or librarian?
- Select – Learn how to choose the best, most reliable information to use in your assignment. Once you find some websites ‘skim and scan’ – look to see whether it has relevant information, whether it is easy to understand, see who created it and when, and then decide if it is a good source of information for your topic.
- Organise – Turn your information into a good set of notes that will make the writing process quicker and easier. Summarise this information into your own words and don’t forget you can also add your own ideas. If you use quotes then you must cite these and add the source to your bibliography – remember the seriousness of plagiarism and possible copyright infringement.
- Present – Plan the points you want to make, and decide how you want to make them. Look at any assessment criteria that you may have been given and use these as a guide. Think about how you will present your work – essay, poster, online presentation, oral, – and what you may require for this to happen. Talk to others to get some ideas and remember to ensure you include a bibliography.
- Evaluate – Check over everything before you hand it in, to make sure your work is the best it can be. Have you covered all the requirements for assessment and answered the question? Do you have evidence to support your ideas and have you cited your sources? Have you done a spell check and validated your sources by completing a bibliography?
Other links that may help you:
Access Education – Offers VCE revision programs and tips for students as well as study seminars.
ATAR Notes – A study community that offers notes and helps all students going after a high ATAR.
Engage Education Foundation – Provides access to seminars, VCE practice exams and other resources.
Kids Computer Lab: Online Research Skills – provides tips on evaluating websites.
TSFX – Exam and educational services designed to help students maximise their Year 11 and 12 scores.