Welcome to the Research Tips page where you will find resources that will help you develop the skills to do effective research for your class assignments.

Starting Your Research

Before beginning your research, it’s a good idea to understand the research process.
McMaster University’s Undergraduate Guide to Research is a good starting point and highly recommended for tips on doing research. This guide is geared for first year university students but can be used by high school students too.

They also have excellent, short tutorial videos on their How Library Stuff Works video page.

Doing the Research

Creating a Search Strategy

Once you have outlined your topic, use the keywords you have identified to search for print and online resources. Your searches may lead to uncovering more search terms and further refining your search strategy.

Use the  Planning Your Search Strategy Worksheet to
plan your search strategy.

Planning Your Search Strategy Worksheet

Use the Annotated Bibliography worksheet to help you
evaluate your sources.

How To Do An Annotated Bibliography

Watch this video for suggestions on how to choose keywords.

Using The Library Catalogue

An important first step is knowing how to search your library catalogue.
Use the Idea Exchange library catalogue (called Bibliocommons) to search for books, magazines and articles from public library databases.

Use this short guide, Using Library Catalogue 2023 to help you search your library for books and other materials.

Using School Databases

Assignments often require finding information from peer-reviewed, authoritative sources. School databases and eBooks are good places to search for such information.

Start your research by using the Online Resources page where you will find a good selection of school and public library resources. All school databases require passwords or logins when working from home. Please contact your teacher or the school librarian.

When doing your research it’s important to know the difference between academic (scholarly) journals and popular magazines.   It is also helpful to understand what is meant by an article being “peer-reviewed”. These short videos explain these two concepts. This graphic explains the parts of a scholarly journal article.

Know Your Sources

Evaluating Online Resources

What Does Peer Review Mean?

Use this infographic  from IFLA.org to help you verify news stories and other online information. Click on the image to view.

How To Spot Fake News Covid Edition


It is important to acknowledge any information, ideas or content that are not your own. Your school board provides guidance on the expectations in acknowledging the work of others (taken from the WCDSB English Programs website):

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another without attribution, in order to represent them as one’s own original work.

Academic honesty is an expected behaviour of all WCDSB students. In accordance with our system’s mission document, Sharing our Journey, and the Ontario Catholic Graduate Expectations, our students will:

  1. “…in a wise and discriminating manner assess, use and evaluate information from a variety of resources and technologies, including print materials, web sites, primary sources, interviews, etc.” (Sharing Our Journey, pg. 27)
  2. “achieve excellence, originality, and integrity in one’s own work and support these qualities in the work of others.” (OCSGE, g, A collaborative learner)
  3. “respects the rights, responsibilities and contributions of self and others.” (OCSGE, e, A collaborative contributor)

Students have the responsibility to ensure that all work submitted is their own or appropriately footnoted as to its origin.

Students have the responsibility to become familiar with and abide by this policy.

Things you need to provide a footnote or end note for:

  1. Ideas, opinions, theories that aren’t your own.
  2. Facts, statistics, graphs, emails, pictures, data, notes or other pieces of information. You need to cite where you got them from.
  3. Quotations of spoken or written word belonging to someone else.
  4. Paraphrasing another’s spoken or written words. Credit the author.

It is considered cheating to: copy all or some of another person’s work and claim it as one’s own. make up and quote non-existent information and resources Submit the same piece of work, without major changes, more than once, in the same course or any other course Copy and paste from various resources and claim it as your own.

Term Work (70%)

Term work will receive a mark of zero until it has been redone or revised or an alternate assessment is completed.
The resubmitted work will be considered late and penalties will apply.
Repeat offences will result in a zero. Teachers will then consult with program heads/administrators on how to appropriately evaluate student learning.

Culminating Work (30%)

Intentionally plagiarized activities will receive a zero. If there are rough drafts, the teacher may consider this work to determine the grade.
Unintentionally plagiarized work will receive a mark of zero until the work is redone and re-evaluated.
Cheating on an exam will result in a mark of zero for any section where it is clear that cheating has occurred.


  1. Always write down the author, title, page number, when taking research notes.
  2. Cite the reference the minute you have mentioned the idea you are using.
  3. Paraphrase or re-write text.
  4. Write ideas in your own words.
  5. Recheck the original text to make sure you haven’t copied and you fully understand it.
  6. If in doubt, cite your sources. (Cite? Make footnotes, endnotes.)
  7. Use quotation marks if using the exact words and then cite.


Citing your sources allows others to assess your research and is good scholarly communication. Your teacher will let you know which citation style they want you to use.
These videos are from McMaster University’s How Library Stuff Works Video Tutorials and explain the general rules for citing using APA and MLA.

Citation Style Guides

In this section you will find a link to the Waterloo Catholic District School Board style guide (MLS Style). There are also links to the various style guides found on the OWL Purdue website.

Download the MLA Citation cheat-sheet here.

You can use the Waterloo Catholic District School Board Style Guide (MLA Style).

Another excellent resource for citation is the Owl Purdue Writing Center.

Use these citation guides from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) to help you cite sources used in your paper:

APA Citation Guide (7th Edition): Use to cite sources in the social sciences and sciences.

MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Use to cite sources in humanities and language arts.

Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide: Use to cite sources in history, business and the fine arts.

Note: all of the school Gale Databases and Gale eBooks offer automatic source citations in MLA (9th Edition). Use the Citation Tool to change to APA (7th Edition) or Chicago (17th Edition).

Copyright and Fair Dealing

When using information, images and other content from the internet, it is important to give credit where credit is due. Like any other source you should give attribution.

This short video from Learn and Lead is based on a video from Common Sense Media.

Information on copyright, fair dealing and the rights of teachers and students regarding copyright from the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada.

Contact the School Librarian

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