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WAMS Research Guide: Using the Information

Tutorials and links to help you navigate the research process successfully.

Useful Resources


Reading, Viewing, and Listening

You will be reading, viewing or listening to information from many different sources.  

TEXTUAL INFORMATION:  You will need to use several reading strategies to assist you in choosing and gathering the best information on your topic.


Before reading in depth, scan the text for your topic, then skim over those areas of the text to determine if it is useful for your research needs. If it is, then begin careful reading (and often re-reading!) of the information, especially if it is a long or difficult passage.  It is important that YOU understand what you are reading and the notes that you are taking from that text.


VISUAL/AUDIO INFORMATION:  You should make use of the pause, fast forward and rewind controls to review or locate information relevant to your topic and needs.

Important Skills in Using Information

Using information involves important skills in the research process.




Effective note-taking is essential to the success of your finished product.  Its important to be organized and to use strategies that will ensure accuracy as well as save time.

   Tips for Note-taking: (See the Note-taking guide for details on taking good notes.)

  1.  Keep your hand-written notes in a single place such as a folder or large envelope.  Make sure your name, teacher and period is on all notesheets and the folder or envelope.
  2. Take your time and work carefully when reading and taking notes.
  3. Think about what you have read.
  4. Say it to yourself in your own words.
  5. Use phrases, abbreviations and symbols when writing down information.
  6. Write the information in your own words or use quotation marks to show that you have used someone else's words.  Make sure to add a proper internal citation (parenthetical reference) in your final product to indicate from where you took the quote.
  7. Record the source of the information accurately and completely in the citation section on the front of the pre-printed notesheets.  (See the Works Cited guide for details on proper citations.)

   Methods for Note-taking:

      Once you have located information in a variety of sources, begin to read, looking for answers to the essential questions you identified during your pre-searching/focus step of research. When you find information that answers a question, you should begin taking notes.  There are three differnt methods of note-taking:

  1. Summarize:  Use this method to record details about very large amounts of information.  Use key words and phrases, and be sure to include names, dates and other information that is not general knowledge.
  2. Paraphrase: Use this method to take detailed notes on specific passages by re-stating the information in your own words
  3. Quote Directly: use this method when the author's original words would enhance your writing.  When you use this method of note-taking, you must be careful to include quotation marks around ALL of the author's words and record the page number, if applicable, where you found this information.

It is important to remember that copying someone else's words, ideas, or visual images is plagiarism.  Plagiarism is considered stealing.  You must take notes in your own words and give credit to (cite) the source of the information or image.

Properly Citing Sources: