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Finding Source Materials

Now that we know about primary and secondary sources, let’s talk about where to find them. Mr. Lexington had some ideas about where to look.

It really helps to know some websites to use when I search for primary and secondary sources. But, I have to be honest. Getting started isn’t always easy. Mr. Lexington says how we start our search is really important to finding good sources for our project. He also tells us to analyze the websites, and figure out which ones are most reliable. But, what makes one website more reliable than another one? Here’s what Mr. Lexington has to say about that.

In the activity below, you will learn how to search online and determine if a website is a useful and reliable source of information.

Speaker plays audio

Dig Deep for Good Research Materials

graphic of an arrow in a bullseye and the text 'Use good search words'

Start your search with questions or keywords that relate to your project. If the results are not helpful, add more specific words to find the most useful sources of information for your project.

graphic of a magnifying blass and a laptop with the text 'Examine the website'

Look at the actual URL, or web address, before you click the link. Is the resource from an educational or government institution? You know you’re on the right track if the web address ends in .edu or .gov.

graphic of a blue award ribbon and the text 'Stick with the experts'

Use websites that are connected to a school, a well-known organization, or museum to get correct information. These kinds of websites are dependable because they were created by experts with reliable information. Try not to use sites by people who may not be experts, like "Mary’s WWII Website."

graphic of a paper with a checkmark and the text 'Check your sources'

Wikipedia is a favorite website for many students, but it is not always a reliable source. Why? Because anyone can add information to the website, not just experts. It’s always a good idea to check the bottom of Wikipedia articles for more dependable resources and links to university or museum websites.