Skip to Main Content


This LibGuide is to provide resources to assist with the PBL Social Studies Research Assignment.



NOT SURE WHERE TO START? Try exploring on your own...or try Mrs. Frech's suggestions for where to start for this particular assignment.

1) *****FIRST THINGS FIRST!!***** What are you researching??? Find your SEARCH TERM(S): First, you need to determine the topic you'd like to explore. Once you have narrowed in a topic, the next key aspect of effective research is finding the right search term(s). Don't keep trying one word/term if you're not getting the results you are seeking. Map out optional words/terms/phrases before you begin. Having term options and finding the right phrasing is often the difference between a successful search or a great deal of wasted time and frustration. When looking for optional terms, check out some of the detailed searching tools & tips under the "SEARCHING: Tips" tab above. It's a bit of a game when it comes to search terms, so you just keep trying different words and/or combinations until you find what you need!! 

2) NOW...LET'S START RESEARCHING: I would suggest starting with the first tab above: DATABASES & WEBSITES: Specifically for This Project.

  • DATABASES are preferred over general websites for research, because databases contain academic information that has been peer reviewed and evaluated for authority, accuracy, and currency, which means the info has been evaluated for validity and provides a citation containing an author and publication date . Here's some additional info to know about databases:
    • Databases will require passwords and/or usernames, particularly when being accessed outside of Padua. You have been provided with this info, but if you cannot find it, go to MyPad > Groups > Padua Library  > Quick Links.
    • Suggested databases for this project have been provided.
      • Hover over database names to see which topics are covered. Also, if there is a BEAR symbol by any database or website, it's a favorite of Padua students, but this doesn't mean other ones aren't just good. It really depends on your topic.
      • Regardless of topic, GALE DATABASES are highly suggested (and a fav of Padua students), because they are informative, user-friendly, and relatively easy to navigate. As a bonus, Gale makes it easy to save your information and also offers citation information. Depending on topic, GALE'S "POWER SEARCH" & "OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS IN CONTEXT" & "STUDENT RESOURCES IN CONTEXT" are good first stops.
      • To explore information about your assigned country, be sure to look at the "COUNTRY REPORTS" site.
      • You may also have luck in the database for INFOHIO, particularly with "ACADEMIC SEARCH PREMIER". 
      • Be sure to navigate Database features.
        • Explore the Advanced Search features and/or topic finders/helpers.
        • Explore how to filter what you want (academic journals or images or primary sources, etc.).
        • Explore various extra/bonus features like listen & translate & automatic citation features.
        • Understand how to SAVE INFO by SENDING IT GOOGLE DRIVE. 
      • After trying databases, you can also explore WEBSITES.
  • WEBSITES may yield good results, but they need to be explored quite a bit more for accuracy.
    • First, try the websites that have been provided to you using the above tab.
    • If you branch out to explore websites on your own with Google or another search engine, practice better searching techniques. 
      • For academic research, many teachers/professors will discourage or not even permit a Google search, but if you must, at least do a BETTER Google Search. 
        • Narrow your search by using quotation marks around multi-termed phrases.
        • Look at the suggested wording under your term while you're typing for optional phrases.
        • Try to get more academic information by using .edu, .org, and .gov over .com sites. For example, you might type something like the following into your Google search box: State of the Union Address .edu .org .gov (for more info on how to do this, check out the "SEARCHING: Tips" tab above).
    • When looking at any website, always look for a date and author at bottom page of a website. If these are not provided, that's a red flag. Even if they are provided, you may have to do a bit of research to verify validity of that source, since anyone can create a website.

3) ARE PRIMARY RESOURCES REQUIRED FOR THIS PROJECT? If yes, try the following. Some databases (like Gale's PowerSearch or INFOhio's ISearch) will help you filter for Primary Resources. If you aren't having luck with the sites and databases that Padua provides, you'll need to expand your horizons. This is where a public library card will really come in handy. ***Be sure to see the HELPFUL HINT on the "NEWS" tab above.  


  • Know where you are locating information (websites versus databases). For websites, save the URL in a Google doc. For databases, save the entire article directly in your Google Drive (URL's do not work for databases). Create some method for staying organized, because there is nothing worse than spending time finding information...and then not being able to locate it again.