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CRLS Research Guide Cambridge Rindge And Latin Research Guide


Introduction to our Research Guide

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What is this guide for?

Your teacher just assigned you a research paper, or an essay that requires research, or some kind of project that requires research and citing your sources.


Your job is to stay calm, know you can do it, hang in there and go step by step!


This research guide will take you step by step through the process of "doing research" so that you don't get lost along the way.


A research project is more complicated than getting the answers from the book or writing out of your own head. It requires you to keep track of a lot of different things, do some original thinking, look for examples to support your ideas and to put it all together in a neat package to present to an audience (your teacher, your class and maybe some guests).


Some high school teachers will require research projects and assume that you know how to do them. Don't panic if you have never done one. This guide will help you as you go through all the steps. Not only that, it will help you do a really good project.


The research process is recursive, which means that at any point you may go back and redo an earlier step. This is one of the main reasons why you need to hang in there and stay organized. Give yourself time at the end of every work session to re-organize yourself for the next time you work.


Make sure you come to this process equipped with 4 things:

1. Your teacher's assignment, written down. (You will constantly refer to this. Make sure you have it.)

2. A notebook

3. Pens or pencils

4. Index cards for note-taking and rubber bands or paper clips. (Some people take notes on notebook paper or use word processing. Try it with index cards, word processing or database document the first time. Later you may decide to use other methods.)

How is this guide organized?

Each page of this site is designed to get you through one step of the research process. Going through the complete process "step by step" will make the whole thing very simple and understandable.

Each page will have three sets of links.

The first set (on the top left of your screen) are general links that will help you with getting an idea of how you navigate the site.
(Please note: JavaScript must be enabled for these links to work.)


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Basic Steps

This link is your main road map. It is a list of each of the steps in the process. It is broken down into small steps so you can take it one step at a time and not get lost. Since the process is recursive, you may end up going back and forth through these steps, sometimes out of order. If you start to feel lost, take a deep breath, emerge from your work, and try to figure out where you are in the process and what comes next. Your teacher, a librarian, or a fellow student could help you with this if you can't find your way.

Tip Sheets

This link will take you directly to tip sheets that explain how to do each of the Basic Steps. These pages are the heart of the research guide. You will use them most often. Sometimes you may need to read through an entire tip sheet. Sometimes you may just have to refer to one quickly for how to do something. You can print any of the pages and they will print cleanly, without the black border.

Big Six™

This link will give you a big picture overview of the whole process, kind of like an umbrella. You can look at this first to get your bearings. Also, you will find colored umbrella icons throughout the site. These will take you directly to the Big6 Skills™ related to what you are working on at the time.

CRLS Library

This link will take you directly to the page where you can look up reliable information on a huge variety of topics. This page should be your first stop in the process of looking for information. Once you find information here, you can use it as a comparison for the information you find on other websites (information which may be inaccurate, misleading, or biased).

Site Map

Here is where you will find a complete list of all the pages on this site.

Feedback and Comments

How can we make this site serve you better? We welcome your input.

The second set of links are found in the contents of the page.
(Please note: JavaScript must be enabled for these links to work.)

Here are some examples.

Lets say that you come across the term Source Card A Source card is ......... in the content of these pages and you are not clear about what it means. Hover your mouse over the "?" for a few seconds and you will see the definition. To investigate further just click to go directly to a Tip Sheet for more details on how to work with the term.

Also, look for the colorful umbrellas at the top left of some Tip Sheets.

These will help you answer the question:

"Where am I now in the overall process of creating my project?"

There are different colored umbrellas for each of the Big6 Skills™. For example, if you click on this red umbrella, you will go to Big6 Skills™ One.

When you get there you can click on the little blue arrow come back to where you started.

Use this easy site navigation technique to go back and forth between any Tip Sheet and it's associated Big6 Skills™ Step.

The third set of links are found on the bottom of each page and will direct you to other tip sheets that may provide the next step in the process for you, pages which may contain worksheets, and other websites which will contain more in-depth information that will help you move through the steps. The other websites are from excellent college and university research guides.


Sample Research Topics


Do you need ideas for a Research Topic? Click here to find a list of good topics and learn ways to generate your own.



How do I avoid panic?

You can probably see that the research process will take time, so give yourself plenty of it. If you wait until the night before (as we all have!), you will become a nervous wreck, be impossible to live with, and probably turn in a crummy project.


There are 3 keys to completing successful research projects that let you stay sane while you are doing them:
1. Plan Ahead
2. Keep Organized
3. Review and Revise
This may be more independent work than you are used to doing. If so, you will stretch and grow wonderfully through this process. Have faith in your intelligence and abilities. You can do it!

Each project that you finish will give you more confidence for the next project. And, believe me, there will be more projects ahead of you.

If you plan a professional career, you have college ahead of you. College professors require lots of research projects so that you can become familiar with what others have written about your chosen field. If you become comfortable with the research process now, you will have a much easier time later... THAT'S A PROMISE.


Where do I start?

Start with the
Basic Steps
 link that you see on the top left of this page. Remember, ask for help if you need it. The CRLS Staff is always willing to help you.


And if you are not at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, I am sure your local school or public library staff is available for questions. ASK!


We want you to feel in control of this process and it takes a few times going through it to feel that way. So... Good Luck and let us know how you are doing.



Copyright © 2004 Holly Samuels All Rights Reserved