Reigate Grammar School Library


Research Skills


Pupil Librarians
Thinking a little bit about your topic in advance of coming to the library will help you get the information you need more quickly and will save you time and frustration in the long run!

Be clear about what you are being asked to do
How much information do you need?
A two-week project will require a number of different resources, whereas a newspaper article or encyclopedia entry may be enough for background information for a class discussion.

How are you being asked to present the information?
Is it an essay, a poster, or a spider plan? Do you need pictures, statistics, quotes?
What sort of information do you need?

Do you need up to the minute information or a historical overview? Are you writing from a particular bias or presenting a balanced picture?
What does the remit cover?
Are you giving a general overview of an event, or focusing on a specific topic?
Who is the information for?
Younger children, your peers, adults?

Think about the information you’re using
Is it up to date?
When was the website last updated? When was the book published? How does this affect its accuracy?
What message is it trying to put across?
Who’s written the book/article? Has the research/website been sponsored by anyone? Do you need a second opinion?
What authority does the information have?
Do you recognize the publishers/ site host? Has the introduction been written by an expert? What are the author’s credentials? Don’t forget – ANYONE can make a website - make sure the information you have is credible!
Beware of “spoof” websites!
Not all websites are genuine. Try!

Make sure you understand the information you are using
The school library serves the needs of students aged from 11-18; the web from children aged 5 to great grandparents of 100! Only some of the information in the library and a fraction of that on the web will be suitable for both your reading level and the level of information you require.
DON’T take a book out that is too hard/ detailed. The chances are you won’t read it – just copy out chunks of information with no understanding. Not only is this plagiarism and illegal but you won't actually have learnt anything.
o DO think laterally! Just because a book on the specific topic you want isn’t there doesn't mean there isn't any information available! There might be a chapter in a book or an article in an encyclopedia or magazine.
o DON’T just rely on Google. It can be great but don’t forget to use portals and look at the recommended websites page – you are more likely to find a site appropriate to your level.