Who is Sharon?

Sharon Colvin is the Teen Librarian here in Chelmsford. Come visit here in the library, email her at scolvin@mvlc.org or find her on Facebook.

What is Sharon reading?

Research Tips

Getting Started on your research project

    1. Start early!
    2. Pick your topic wisely!
    3. Think about Keywords!
    4. Use all your resources — books, periodicals, databases, internet, librarians!
    5. Think creatively — biographies and videos might be valuable resources!
    6. Evaluate your sources — is it reliable?
    7. Gather your bibliographic information as you go!


Pick Your Topic Wisely

  • Make sure there is enough information
  • Skim an encyclopedia or do a quick search online
  • Go to the library and browse the books
  • Click through a database
  • Think BIG; think small
  • Look into a few topics before you decide
  • Pick something that interests you!
  • Spend 15 minutes now and it’ll save you hours later!!


  • Words/phrases used to find information
  • Keywords can be people, places, time periods, ideas, etc.
  • Words/phrases found in the Index
  • Words/phrases found in the text of a webpage or book
  • Search Engines use keywords

Places to look for keywords

What is a Periodical?

  • A periodical is a magazine or other journal that is issued at regularly recurring intervals.
  • You can pick up a magazine, newspaper or other journal.  (Finding exactly what you want in a stack of magazines or newspaper can be pretty frustrating.
  • You can search a database for articles.


What is a database?

  • Are tools for research.
  • Are an organized collection of magazine, newspaper and journal articles
  • Are usually computerized
  • Let you search for articles using keywords
  • Give you access to information you might not be able to get in print (ex. International newspapers)
  • Give you access to much better information than the free internet


Tips on Evaluating Web Resources

  • You get what you pay for. The free internet is full of useless information.
  • Pay attention to where you get your information and whether it’s reliable. 
  • Try going to a site dedicated to information. Museums often have great sites.
  • Is the information related to your topic?
  • Is the information easy to understand? Is it well written, spelled correctly and clear?
  • Is the information current? When was it written?
  • Can you tell who wrote the information? Are they an expert? Are they from a school or other kind or organization?
  • Do you think the website is biased? Is the website or author selling something to do with this information?
  • Is the website based on fact or opinion? How can you tell?
  • Remember to gather your bibliography information! If you can’t find all the information (date, author, etc.), are you sure this site is appropriate for your research?

Try some of these websites!


Need help?