•   Research Skills

    1. 1. Getting Started
      1. Create a Keyword Bank:
        1. Write down the important words, names, or ideas relating to your topic that you currently know.
        2. Add more words, names, and ideas as you discover them in your research.
        3. Sometimes your original keywords will not bring you the expected results, so it is important to have a bank of alternate search terms ready to go.
        4. example 1
      2. Create Your Search String:
        1. You should always research by searching carefully selected keywords NOT entire sentances!
          1. Putting "and" between two keywords will NARROW your results so only results with BOTH terms will show up.
          2. Putting "OR" between two keywords will EXPAND your results so results with EITHER of the terms will show up.
          3. Putting "NOT" between keywords will LIMIT results to ignore results with certain words.
        2. examples2


    1. 2. Finding Sources:
      1. Subscription Databases:
        1. Use the "Browse Topics" buttons OR use your keywords in search bar.
        2. Use the filters on the sides to narrow or expand your results. The date filter is particularly helpful, as is the "full text" filter. 
        3. issues  opposing  global jstor

          (use password: 24752000287597) 
      2. Searching the Free Web

        1. Try Refseek.com - it's like google but will provide more academic and scholarly results!
        2. A better Google search
          1. Use advanced search function and Limit for .edu or .gov 
          2. Develop a list of keywords and synonyms to use in your research. 
      3. keywords      quotations
        graphic2      domain  
      4. How to Use Wikipedia for Academic Research:
        1. You CAN use Wikipedia:
          1. Use it to find keywords for your search strings
          2. Use it to familiarize yourself with the broad overview of your topic
          3. Use it to get background info on a topic
          4. Use it to find other sources (go to bottom of page, explore cited sources there)
        2. You just cannot quote from, or cite Wikipedia as a source
          1. Why? Because, even though Wikipedia has become an exceptional information resource, it IS a Wiki, which means that someone could technically add misinformation. Since we can never be 100% absolutely certain of the author of the information, Wikipedia itself cannot be quoted or cited as a reputable source.  
    1. 3. Evaluating Your Sources:
      1. Always confirm the facts your news article is claiming!
        1. Double check with a factchecker and/or
        2. Corroborate the facts across multiple reputable sources
      2. Always evaluate the source to make sure it is credible and reputable!
        1. Lookup your source's reputation and biases on google, wikipedia, or mediabiasfactcheck.com
        2. How do I check if my source is reputable?

    FACT method

    • Choose a variety of reputable sources.
    • Choose sources that reflect a variety of political biases.
    • Do not get all information from a single source.

    Evaluation Activity

    1. Go to MediaBiasFactCheck
    2. Search for a few news sources
    3. Plot your sources on the shared whiteboard!

    An Excellent New Source tool is **Allsides.com**


    Examples of news sources:

    • New York Times
    • Wall Street Journal
    • Washington Post
    • Occupy democrats
    • Sean Hannity Show
    • Glen Beck Program
    • The New Yorker
    • The Associated Press
    • Breitbart
    • Reuters
    • Bloomberg News
    • Fox News
    • Rush Limbaugh Show
    • NPR
    • Huffington Post
    • CNN
    • NBC News
    • The Guardian
    • Al Jazeera
    • Christian Science Monitor
    • Readers Digest
    • The Blaze

    Resources to Help you Evaluate a Source for Reputation and Bias!

    1. MediaBiasFactCheck - This website is awesome for checking the biases and reputation associated with news sources. It will give you info about the source's political leanings and reputation which helps you decide if your source is reliable.
    2. Open Secrets. Tracks how much and where candidates get their money.
    3. WHOis.net - find out who owns a website or domain name. You can then search for that person or organization's reputation and biases.


    1. Washington Post Fact Checker. Although WP has a left-center bias, its checks are excellent and sourced. Bias because they fact check conservative claims more than liberal ones.
    2. The Sunlight Foundation. Uses public policy data-based journalism to make politics more transparent/accountable
    3. Snopes.  Often the first to set facts straight on wild fake news claims.
    4. ProPublica. Has won several Pulitzer Prizes. ProPublica produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
    5. AllSides. While not a fact-checking site, AllSides curates stories from right, center and left-leaning media so that readers can easily compare how bias influences reporting
    6. Fact Check. This nonpartisan, nonprofit monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by U.S. political players, including politicians, TV ads, debates, interviews and news releases.​
    7. Media Matters. This nonprofit and self-described liberal-leaning research center monitors and corrects conservative misinformation in the media.​
    8. NewsBusters. A project of the conservative Media Research Center, NewsBusters is focused on “documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias.”​


    Additional Resources:

    1. News Sources
      1. The Wall Street Journal 
      2. The New York Times 
      3. Chicago Tribune 
      4. New York Post 
      5. Los Angeles Times 
      6. The Washington Post 
      7. Newsday 
      8. The Mercury News 
      9. East Bay Times 
      10. Star Tribune 
      11. You also might try looking at Associated Press for news sources.
    2. Websites for Issues Research
      1. ProCon.org: an independent non-profit founded by Steven C. Markoff “to provide resources for critical thinking and to educate without bias.”
      2. AllSides - AllSides curates stories from right, center and left-leaning media so that readers can easily compare how bias influences reporting.
      3. ProPublica. ProPublica produces investigative journalism in the public interest.
      4. National Discussion and Debate Series: This program was created “to encourage a vigorous, well-informed discussion on the national stage about the major issues of our time.”
      5. Debate.org - Gain balanced, non-biased insight into each issue and review the breakdown of pro-con stances within our community.