Many people use Google to search for information on the internet. Google is a powerful tool for research. It is fast and convenient and can help you access lots of useful information.
But is Google always the best research tool for everyone?
Often Google is not a good tool to use when you need to conduct research for a homework assignment or a class project. Do a quick search for “bears” in Google and you will receive a wealth of information about bears, including lots of information about the Chicago Bears football team that you will have to weed out.
- This article from The Conversation—titled “Don’t ‘just Google it'”—does a great job of explaining how to search the internet so that you can get the most relevant and reliable information, including Google searches.
- It can be overwhelming to comb through a long list of results to find the most relevant and current information. On top of that, you’ll sometimes come across misinformation in your Google search or “fake news,” which we are becoming all too familiar with. Watch this video on CBC Kids News about fake news »
Find useful databases for researching & learning with your Oak Park library card
You can find tons of useful databases for researching and learning on the library’s website on the Research and Learn page! On these research sites—accessible with your Oak Park library card and PIN—you can be sure information is current, reliable, and credible so that you won’t have to spend a lot of time fact-checking!
Are you doing a cultural project on Latin America? Are you interested in learning about marsupials or native plants of Illinois? Do you need to use multiple sources to ensure your information is accurate?
On the Kids Homework Help page, you can find several amazing databases for your research, all accessible with your library card! Along the way, you’ll hopefully find out how fun it can be to do research and learn information from a variety of sources.
Explore Culture Grams
This is a wonderful resource to help upper elementary and middle school students learn about the world around them. Providing images, historical timelines, and fun facts, along with sections on history, population, “life as a kid,” games and sports, education, and more, students have access to information that offers a window to the world around them.
Explore National Geographic Kids
This is a useful research database for primary, upper elementary, and middle school students looking to explore information about science, nature, culture, archaeology, and space. This site provides access to the Nat Geo Kids magazines from 2009 to the present as well as books, videos, images, and informational texts for research. Kids can appreciate the amazing educational content in this research tool.
- Students in pre-school and primary school can use World Book Kids to access easy-to-read articles with engaging images, interactive games, and activities.
- Students in elementary through middle school can use World Book Student to research a wide range of topics. Most appropriate for students in grades 3-8, it provides access to encyclopedia articles, resource guides, a citation builder, interactive maps, and study quizzes. The read-aloud option, large, colorful graphics, and interactive activities help young students to fully engage in the research process.
Plus, find lots of wonderful research sites in this list compiled by Common Sense Media. It offers an extensive collection of top picks for kids to do research for school projects, homework, and for learning and enjoyment.
There is so much information online and right at your fingertips. It’s important to make sure you choose sources that are reliable and credible. I hope you have fun exploring some of these resources available with your Oak Park library card!
Eileen Saam is a children’s digital learning librarian who loves discovering new things, learning from others, and sharing with children the joy and wonder of books. One of her favorite things to do at the library is to help children, families, and teachers find books and digital resources that delight and inspire them.