Research Phase Two: Finding Resources

Contributor: Emily Love. Lesson ID: 10434

You have finally chosen a research topic! Now what? Where do you find information? Just because it's on the Internet, is it true? Do people use libraries any more? Learn the way to judge resources!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


In the 2004 film, National Treasure, the main characters are on a hunt for a secret treasure linked to the history of the United States of America.

At one point, they realize that a key clue to their treasure hunt is in the Declaration of Independence, so the main character decides he has to steal it in order to protect it from the bad guys.

Watch this National Treasure movie clip from

The clip from National Treasure demonstrates the value of knowing where to go when you're in search of information.

The main character's sidekick knew to go to the best possible place to find information about this insane idea: the Library of Congress. It also shows that researchers must act like detectives to uncover the best information to find answers and solve problems.

This is the second of five lessons in the series, Research. If you missed the first lesson or need to review, find it under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.

  • Where should you go to research?
  • How do you know if your material provides you with the best information?

One of your first resources should be your local library. You can arrange a trip with your parent or teacher. The librarians are excellent resources. They like to help students find information and learn how to use the library's resources independently.

You might have to invest some time into learning how to use the library, but you will be rewarded by gaining access to excellent information and resources that are all free! If you don't already have one, talk to your parents about getting a library card; it's a great way to learn responsibility.

Another excellent resource is the Internet. You can find many nonfiction periodicals and websites designed specifically for students your age. For example, you can check out the website Youngzine to find stories about current world events, science, art, and more.

There are many, many resources available on the Internet; however, not all information is good information. Once you find a resource online that you think you want to use, you have to ask a series of questions to determine whether or not it offers good information. For this, you can use the "strategy of the 5 Ws," created by Kathy Schrock:

#1: WHO

  • Who wrote the page?
  • Is he or she an expert on the topic?
  • How can you find out more about the author?

#2: WHAT

  • What does the author say is the site's purpose?
  • What has the author done to make the site clearly organized?
  • What information does the author include, and how does it compare to the other information you have read about your topic?

#3: WHEN

  • When was the site created, and how recently has it been updated?


  • Where did this information originate?
  • Where can you find more information about the creators of the site?

#5: WHY

  • Why is this information useful for your research project?

Continue on to the Got It? section to practice the 5 Ws!

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