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Initial Secondary Source

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  • Initial Secondary Source




    Now that you’ve chosen your research topic for Unit 6, it’s time to begin finding out basic information about that person’s life and times.  Just as we did in Unit 5, the best way to begin that process is to find a good secondary source as a place to begin to understand this historical figure.

    Follow these steps:

    1.  Look up your research topic on either Wikipedia or Britannica. Yes, Wikipedia is fine for getting an overview BUT NOT AS A FORMAL SOURCE. Be sure to check the lists of references supplied in each entry as well. 


    2.  Carefully read and take notes on your topic.  You may find that it’s helpful to print the article and take notes in the margins.  The more detailed your notes now, the easier it will be to write your paper later.

    3.  Put your notes together in one of the formats we studied in Unit 5:  outline notes, sentence notes, Cornell notes, or a web. See the below document for review.  

    4.  Remember to PARAPHRASE your notes in short phrases rather than simply copying full sentences, and if you use direct quotations, remember to mark them as such to avoid unintentional plagiarism that plagues you later.

    5.  Submit your initial secondary source notes into the dropbox on the next page.It should include this information:  source information, including the title, author, website (if found online), page numbers (if applicable), bibliograpy citation in MLA format (use and detailed, specific notes. USE TEMPLATE PROVIDED BELOW.

    6.  Organize your research.  You should have some type of online organization for all your English 12 assignments. I recommend having an English 12 folder in Google drive.  In that English 12 folder, create a sub-folder titled Research.  Now, save all your research and Unit 6 assignments in that folder.


    Note:  Common wisdom says Wikipedia should always be used with caution as a research source.  Since the content is user-created, it can be prone to errors.  Anyone can login and change an entry.  However, recent studies have shown that any errors are quickly corrected by the community.  You just always want to use it with caution and check the sources from which the information is taken.