Using Sources to Gather Information

Contributor: Morgan Haney. Lesson ID: 13960

When you want to learn about a new topic, there are all kinds of sources to go to for information! In this lesson, you'll explore different types of sources and start your own research project.


Practical Life Skills, Verbal Communication

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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We all have topics we know a lot about, and there are other topics that we know almost nothing about. The good news is, when you want to learn about something you don't know much about, there are places you can go to learn.

Today, you'll learn about sources and how they help you gather information, and you'll do your very own research project!

When you want to learn more about a new topic, you need to find sources with information about that topic.

A source is any place you can find information about a topic. Books, websites, videos, and news articles are all examples of sources.

Today, you will practice finding sources and gathering information from them so that you can learn more about the things that are interesting to you!

Finding Sources

Remember, a source is any place where you can find information about a topic. Here are some common types of sources and where you can find them.

  books Look at your library or bookstore for books about the topic in which you are interested.
  websites Do a web search on the topic about which you want to know more, and you will find websites where people have written about that topic.
  videos Not all sources are written down. You can also find videos about a topic on the internet.
  news articles You can find writing in newspapers about your topic, either on paper or on the news source's website.


  • With all the books and articles and videos out there, how do you know if a source is a good source with information you can trust?

Take a look at the video below on how to decide, or evaluate, whether sources on the internet are trustworthy and useful.

Evaluating Websites (for Elementary students) from OSLIS Elementary Videos:

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When you're looking for good and trustworthy sources, remember TRAAP (Timeliness, Relevancy, Accuracy, Author, Purpose)!

Gathering Information from Sources

Once you have found sources you trust, it's time to gather information from those sources.

A good place to start is to decide what question you are trying to answer. This is your research question, and it will help you decide which information is helpful to you.

For example, instead of saying, "I want to learn about hot air balloons," a research question will sound more like, "How do hot air balloons fly?" That kind of question is specific and helps you decide what information you need from your sources.

You have a bunch of sources about hot air balloons that you trust, and your research question is "How do hot air balloons fly?"

  • What do you do next?

Now it's time to search your sources for information about your question. The reason you have multiple sources is because each one will have different information.

In your learning, you get to choose which pieces of information answer your question best, so you will want to take pieces of information from multiple sources.

Maybe you find on a website that hot air balloons fly because hot air rises, and you find in a book that the hot air balloon pilot can turn the temperature of the air up and down to make the hot air balloon go higher or lower.

Both of these are good pieces of information that help answer your research question!

In your presentation of what you learned, you could say something like, "The website says that hot air rises, which is why hot air balloons can fly. In the book How to Fly a Balloon, I learned that the pilot can turn the temperature of the air up and down to make the balloon go higher or lower."

You will notice that example included where the information was found. This is called giving sources credit. You always need to give credit to your sources because they found the information you are using, and they did a lot of hard work to publish that information!

Move on to the Got It? section to test your memory of TRAAP and practice finding information in sources!

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