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Extended Essay: 5 - Identify Sources - Going Beyond Google

A guide to the research process involved in your EE.

The Research Process

It is now time to identify the "how and where" for the sources you will use to write your essay.  The important thing to remember is to not be overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, just collect what you think might be useful to you.  If you look in the right places and search efficiently you can find relevant resources quickly and easily.

Selecting Appropriate Information - The Information Cycle

It is important to appreciate when and how information becomes available, this can help you to understand more about the material you find in your research. 

Searching effectively in databases and on the Internet

By using effective search techniques you can find useful, relevant information without having to waste lots of time trawling through all those unwanted search results!

Use these tips to help you search a variety of information sources including databases, library catalogs, and the Internet.

  • If you have a choice, choose the Advanced Search option, it will allow you to limit your search in a number of ways.

  • When planning your search, remember to use the keywords you identified in the 'Define' section.

  • Don't forget to use Boolean Operators (find more information on this page) to create your search strings.

  • The truncation symbol (*) can be used to find variations of a keyword that begin with the same letters.  For example econom* would find economy, economic, economics, economical etc.

  • Keep track of the searches you use so you don't go round in circles.  Note down particularly useful search strings.

  • Use quotation marks to group a number of words together (ie "Top Gear" would search for all results with the phrase 'Top Gear' but would ignore those where 'top' and 'gear' only appear seperately).

  • Verify important information by looking for the same information in a number of reliable sources.

Using Boolean Operators

 Use the Boolean Operators, AND, OR, NOT, to improve your searches, by narrowing your search ir you have too many results or widening your search if you have too few.

Boolean Searching is a very useful skill to learn and really easy once you get the hang of it!

Mazure, Emily. “Boolean Operators Tutorial.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 June 2010,

Why do I need a Range of Sources?

 It's important to be aware of the range of information sources that are available to you and theattributes, advantages and disadvantages of each.

There are many information sources, from the obvious ones like books, magazines, newspapers and Internet sites to those you may not immediately think of such as maps, annual reports, conference proceedings and theses.  All sources have strengths and weaknesses and you should consider these when deciding on the most appropriate sources to use in your research.

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