Whether you're preparing for field data collection, building an independent research project, or just want more information on a specific topic, it's important to do your research first. A few pointers on selecting and using science related resources:
> Use reputable sources.
Consider authors and host sites when sifting through a Google search on a topic. Look for links that connect to academic and scientific institutions. Wikipedia may be an alright place to start gaining a bit of background, but it is not your endpoint!
> Mine bibliographies.
Whether your source is in print or online, once you find an article that is helpful to you, skim through the bibliography to steer yourself toward other good resources.
> Take it one piece at a time.
Researching a simple topic or question can quickly begin to feel overwhelming. Don't try to tackle the whole thing at once, just get a sense of the outline of the topic and then work at it bit by bit.
> Keep a list.
Even if you don't end up using a resource at the current time, keep a list of where you've looked to help you out in the future.
> Ask for help!
Don't forget to use the human resources around you: teachers, SERC staff, media specialists, classmates.
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