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Cicero-North Syracuse High School Library » Research Paper

Research Paper

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You need to complete a research project.  What topics are you interested in learning more about?  Think of a controversial issue. What do you know about it?  What do you wonder or want to learn? 

Explore both sides of the issue.  After reading an overview of information, what questions do you have?  These questions should be thought provoking and can't be answered with one word.  After thinking of questions you want to know more about, you should be able to choose a position and support it. 

A research paper presents the results of your investigation on a selected topic.  Based on your own thoughts, and the facts and ideas that you have gathered from a variety of sources, you will write a thesis based 3-5 typed pages research paper.

So now...

Where can you find information on your topic?  You will be using a minimum of 5 sources 4 from our Library Databases and 1 reliable web site. 

Where can you find useful information within databases? Directory, Search Box.

Where can you find useful information within article?  Text, Charts, PDF.

How can you demonstrate your learning?  3-5 typed pages research paper


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Always use more than one source.  Make sure the information agrees. 

Databases we will use:

SIRS - SIRS contains the full text of articles that have appeared in magazines and newspapers as well as government documents. When you open SIRS look for the Top 10 Pro vs Con section. Click on one of these issues or click on more issues for the complete list.  Link Data and click Save to your Google Drive.

EBSCO MAS Ultra - Contains full text magazine and newspaper articles. Choose full text and bullet Boolean/phrase for a more focused search. Check the cover story box for in depth articles.

General Search Tips:

Check your spelling

Try using fewer words on your search

Try searching in more than 1 database.  If the first database you look in doesn’t offer up any information, try another. It is rare that you will find exactly what you need the first time.

Use Synonyms and related words in your search.  Think of different ways to say the same thing

  • Example: searching for kids, try children, adolescents, youths etc.

Use Boolean Operators.

  • If no results are coming up, use OR and put in different ways to say the same thing. The database will search for any or all of those words.  (Broadens Search)
  • If too many results are coming up, AND your search terms together.  This is a way to search for multiple search terms at the same time (Narrows Search)
  • If you are getting results that have nothing to do with your topic, use NOT.  This will eliminate certain words from your search (Miami NOT Dolphins).

Remove any limiters from your search (date, page ranges, etc.)

  • Try using truncation symbols (*) in your search.  Put in a root word and then * and the database will search for all words beginning with that root word.

    • Example: industry* will look search for industry, industrial, industrialized, industrialization, etc.

Directions for Saving MAS ULTRA Articles to Google Docs: 

Log into Google Account.
Click on Cite to copy the MLA citation from your article and paste it at the top of a New Google Doc.

Click on PDF or HTML (left side of screen) to view article. 
Copy the entire text of the article and paste it below the citation.
Save one article per document.

Where to Find the MLA Citation on each Database -
The complete MLA citation will be located at bottom of articles.
Works Cited MLA Basics:
1. List sources in alphabetical order by author's last name or Title (if no author is listed.)

2. Title your works cited page: Works Cited (center)
3. Use Times New Roman, 12 point font
4. Include Hanging Indents
5. Double space between sources
6. Be sure that every source you use is listed on your Works Cited page

**Everything that is not your own original idea or thought MUST be cited in the text AND on the works cited page.  Failure to do this is plagiarism.**



  • Reword – replace words and phrases with synonyms whenever you can.

  • Rearrange – rearrange words within sentences to make new sentences. You can even rearrange the ideas presented within the paragraph.

  • Realize that some words and phrases cannot be changed – names, dates, titles etc. cannot be replaced, but you can present them differently in your paraphrase.

  • Recheck – make sure that your paraphrase conveys the same meaning as the original text.



Group your notecards by topic

Arrange your notes linearly - Visual Representation about what you will cover in your paper.  You can always change it.  

We will use the Modern Language Association (MLA) Format.


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MAS ULTRA Database

Issues and Controversies

Note Cards Checklist

In-Text Citations

MLA Works Cited

Purdue OWL MLA Formatting




Related Files

    Research Paper (mht file - 2.25 MB)

CNS High School Library
North Syracuse
Cicero-North Syracuse High School
6002 Rt. 31
Cicero, New York 13039