If you're not very familiar with your topic, find a book - the introductory chapter is an excellent way to get background quickly and lead you in researchable directions. With ebooks, you can just email yourself that chapter and read when you can!
Your professor will be able to quickly evaluate how much effort you put into research by reviewing your Works Cited page. Find academically appropriate resources on the web, through library and government databases and sites, and in books.
Your I-Search paper is a story you tell your audience to share your journey to discovering and building knowledge. A Research Journal will help you keep track of what you learned, when you learned it, and how you found it. Download the file below for a journal you can use.
The databases you search will depend on your topic area. Most people have luck with the general databases and SmartSearch. Unfortunately, all of these databases can't be searched simultaneously, so you will have to perform separate searches as your research progresses - this is normal!
Try adding site:.gov or site:.edu to your googles to change your results. Select and cite only the best websites that you find - you will be turning in a "Works Cited" page, not a Bibliography of everything you read in your research.
How can you decide whether to use a website or not?
Ask yourself the following questions
And then decide if the website is a great resource or not.
How recent is the information?
How recently has the website been updated?
Is it current enough for your topic?
What kind of information is included in the resource?
Does it provide information valuable to your research topic?
Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is it balanced?
Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?
Are there advertisements on the website?
Who is the creator or author? What are their credentials?
Who is the publisher or sponsor? Are they reputable?
What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?
Purpose/Point of View
Is this fact or opinion?
Is it biased?
Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?