Finding and selecting sources
There is a huge range of resources available to you, and your most important task at this stage will be filtering these sources and using your time as efficiently as possible.
Start by looking exploring our Recommended Resources - Upper School guide to see which resources we particularly recommend for your subject. Then spend some time having a look around to see what is available, and talk to your supervisor or another subject specialist about the list of keywords you are building if you are having trouble.
If you still cannot find what you are looking for, come and have a chat with the Library staff and we would be happy to help you. Contact Mrs Toerien (JAT) if you think you might need specialist help.
On this page you will find guidance including:
as well as information on:
As well as resource boxes in the sidebar containing:
We have a wide range of books and subscription databases available - and you have the vast resources of the internet at your fingertips, so where should you start? Different resources are useful for different purposes.
Begin by looking at the home tab and the tab for your EE subject on our Recommended resources - Upper School guide.
One of the most important features of any search strategy is the key words and phrases you use - computers aren't mind-readers although some internet search engines are very good at 'guessing', subscription databases and the library catalogue are less so. This can actually be helpful as you have more control over the results you get in a database than on the internet, but when you are used to internet search engines it can also be a challenge.
This keywording tool (that you may have begun to use in the Developing a Line of Inquiry tab) will help you to develop an effective search strategy, and will also help you to discuss that with your supervisor and the Library staff if you need any help. Don't forget to check the second page of the document for useful hints and tips on how to use it.
There are many websites with excellent tutorials on Boolean searching (searching using AND, OR and NOT) if you want more advice. For example, this one from MIT Libraries:
Search for books using Heritage, our online catalogue.
If you really cannot find any books relevant to your topic, please speak to a member of library staff or use the link on this page to email the relevant Librarian for advice.We might be able to identify books to buy or to borrow from another library. Similarly, if you come across a reference to a book that looks particularly useful that we do not have, let us know and we can try and get hold of it for you.
The Library subscribes to a number of Subscription Databases which you can then use for free. These are high-quality sources of articles and images for academic research. You can either filter the list above by subject, or the Recommended resources - Upper School guide gives you detailed guidance as to which are particularly suitable for your subject.
Note that there are different links (given in the document above) for using some databases in school or at home, and passwords are provided where necessary from home.
Please visit the Recommended resources - Upper School guide for advice on how to search the internet effectively for academic sources.
The following is a comment from the IB on using 'online encyclopaedias' such as Wikipedia (from The IB Extended Essay Guide: The Research and Writing Process: Academic Honesty):
Note that, while you might use a tool such as this as a starting point for general background information and to help you locate other, more reputable sources, during the Connect stage of your research, you should not be citing it in your final piece of work.
Whether you are using print or online resources, you need to consider whether you think they are suitable for your inquiry and why. Consider the:
The resource below can be used for CRAAP testing, and is particularly useful for websites.
In some EE subjects it is compulsory to process raw data of some sort. This may be:
Whichever sort of data you have, it is very important to think about and comment on how it was collected and how that may affect your results. A tool like the CRAAP test is just as useful for data as it is for other types of source, paying particular attention to study/experiment design and sampling.
A well-designed questionnaire can be an excellent way to collect relatively large amounts of primary data fairly quickly. A poorly designed one is a waste of everyone's time and can cause a lot of stress when you try to analyse the results and realise that the questionnaire did not work as intended.
In the interactive lesson (NearPod) below, Mr Foster leads you through how to design an effective questionnaire, and gives you lots of tips and advice. This lesson should take you about 10-15 minutes to complete.
Note: As Mr Foster recommends in his Top Tips, we strongly advise you to use Microsoft Forms (available through the Office 365 link on Oakham Start) not Survey Monkey for online questionnaires as the free version of Survey Monkey is quite limited. For example, you can only ask ten questions per survey and you cannot download your results to analyse them.
Settings to check before sharing your Form...
Before sharing your Form, make sure you check the settings (click on the three dots at the top right of the Forms screen).
You will (I hope!) have thought carefully about the sample of people you are surveying.
An excellent way to keep track of your investigation. Use one page per source and don't forget to insert a citation at the top of the page. If you choose not to use it, think about what you will use instead.
This is an ideal tool for using in your Researcher's Reflection Space.
This resource will help you to keep track of all the different sources you find. Once you start working with each source in more detail, you will also need a tool like the Investigative Journal to organise your notes.
It is so frustrating when you are under pressure to write up your work and you suddenly realise you can't find all the information you need to reference a source! Ideally you would gather all the information you need as you go along, but what is the minimum you need to gather to make sure that you can reconstruct the reference at the end?