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Welcome to the Mildred H. McEvoy Library

First of All:

Reference Sources (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.) are great to get an overview of a topic. They can help you identify key words to use when you search the library catalog, databases, and online. Reference sources often provide excellent suggestions for further reading. Find reference sources in print and in some library databases.

How Often Should I Use Quotations in My Paper? Your teachers mainly want to hear your voice! Try to paraphrase or summarize your information throughout most of your papers. Use direct quotations when information is worded in a particularly interesting or strong way. Make sure you lead into it and out of it gracefully so that the article maintains flow and it’s clear why you chose to use that quotation. Whether you use direct quotations, paraphrasing, or summaries, remember to cite!

How Do I Know If I Can Trust This Website?

How Do I Know if I Can Trust this Website?

Will this website W.O.W. my teacher? (Yes, I made this up.) Use these factors if you want more than the "Lateral Reading" technique in the video above:

1.  W. = Why? Ask Why Did This Person or Organization Use Time and Money to Put the Page Online? To Sell? To Inform? To Persuade?

  • Be sure you can tell if the information is fact, opinion, or propaganda!
  • Look for evidence of bias in the information (point of view, or use of emotion-rousing words)
  • Is a website free of advertising? If there is advertising, is it clearly separated from the information?
  • Who is friends with the site; who links to the page or domain?  Use [link:URL] in Google (e.g.

2.  O. = Owner? Who Wrote the Information (What are her/his qualifications for writing on this topic-- why should you believe them?), and who paying for it to be online?

  • Can you find more information about the people responsible (is there an email or street address)? Look for "About Us," or "Who We Are,' or something similar on a website. 
  • Google the author or search for her in the Biography in Context database -- does the author: Hold a degree in the subject? Work in a related field? Have first-hand knowledge?
  • To find a website's homepage, delete everything after the first ".org," ".edu," etc. in the address.  
  • Search for a nonprofit organization in CharityNavigator.

3.  W. = When?

  • Sometimes it matters that information is recent. Sometimes it doesn't, depending on what you're researching. Some information is outdated quickly, like medical information or news. On a website, can you tell when a page was written or updated, or are there dead links? Is a book a first edition, or has it been revised or updated?

Finally, Use Your Common Sense, What You Already Know, and a Healthy Dose of Skepticism!
Here are a few tools to help:

The folks behind this website check out all of those online stories, hoaxes, and rumors that have been sent to you by well-meaning friends.

Use this website to learn more about American nonprofit organizations.


Also known as the Wayback Machine, the Internet Archive has been storing snapshots of websites since 1996.  If you want to check out the history of a company's public face, don't forget this great site. is a nonpartisan, nonprofit at Penn. Its mission is to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.

Updated daily, PolitiFact fact-checks statements made by elected officials, candidates, and pundits. is a nonpartisan organization that tracks the influence of money in U.S. politics. Also find tutorials on such topics as campaign finance.

Find the Right Source for the Job


When to Use It

How to Find It

Books in Print & eBooks

  • Any subject
  • Contain background/in-depth info
  • Typically accurate & written by an authority (but can be biased)
  • Usually include bibliography for more information
  • Don't expect up-to-the minute information

Library Catalog

Library eBook search

Other sources under "Read" tab


  • Any subject, including current events
  • Concise articles on a current event or other news subject
  • Especially good for discovering public opinion
  • Primary source

Boston Globe

New York Times

Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Other library databases


  • Popular topics & current affairs
  • Intended to entertain or inform readers
  • Purpose is to sell
  • Typically current and up-to-date
  • Most written by journalists or reporters
  • Can be easier to read

Most library databases


  • New research, findings, and ideas on many subjects
  • Purpose is to inform
  • Written by scholars or experts, for experts
  • In-depth information
  • Most articles are "peer-reviewed"
  • Usually include bibliography for more information
  • May be more difficult to read


Gale Databases

Many other library databases (limit your search to "peer-reviewed" or "scholarly"

Web Sites

  • Any subject
  • Can provide up-to-the-minute information
  • Varies in quality and reliability
  • Requires evaluating what you find for authority and other elements



Or try another search engine

Social Media

  • Any subject
  • Great place to find information about events occurring in real time
  • Varies in quality and reliability

SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.

Wikis : Many wikis are full of excellent information, but because it has not been expertly reviewed or curated, you may not cite it for academic work at Worcester Academy or in college (if you want a good grade). However, wikis can be a good place to start to get background information, to gather search terms or to check out the "References" at the end of a page. Other than Wikipedia, try these wikis:



Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a form of theft. It is the use of another person's work or ideas without giving proper acknowledgment to that person. For further information, please refer to the Worcester Academy Student-Family Handbook. These guidelines are provided to help you avoid accidental plagiarism. 

To avoid plagiarizing, you need to give credit whenever you use: 

  • another person's ideas, opinions, or theories; 
  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings, etc. that are not "common knowledge"; 
  • quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words; and 
  • paraphrase of another person's spoken or written words.

Direct Quotation
If you are copying a person's words or speech, you are directly quoting. When you quote, put the person's words or speech in quotation marks, and cite the source.

If you are putting another person's writing or speaking into your own words, you are paraphrasing. Although you are using your own words, the opinions, the information, the ideas, and even the organization of ideas are not yours. You need to cite the source. 

A Good Strategy to Avoid Plagiarism:

  1. Take good notes that are fully in your own words.
  2. Look at your notes when writing, not your original sources.
  3. Cite when necessary. If you're not sure, CITE IT!

More on PARAPHRASE ... Consider this comparison:

Here is the ORIGINAL TEXT (from A Smaller History of Rome by William Smith and Eugene Lawrence): 

Italy has been in all ages renowned for its beauty and fertility. The lofty ranges of the Apennines, and the seas which bathe its shores on both sides, contribute at once to temper and vary its climate, so as to adapt it for the productions alike of the temperate and the warmest parts of Europe. In the plains on either side of the Apennines corn is produced in abundance; olives flourish on the southern slopes of the mountains; and the vine is cultivated in every part of the peninsula, the vineyards of northern Campania being the most celebrated.

Here is an UNACCEPTABLE paraphrase that is plagiarism

Italy has always been celebrated for its loveliness and its bounty. The soaring Apennines, and the oceans that surround the country, both moderate and vary its climate, so that the people can grow the same crops that are grown in both the temperate and the warmest parts of Europe. Below the Apennines, corn flourishes; on the southern slopes of the mountains olives grow in plenty; and grape vines are grown all over Italy. The oldest vineyards can be found in northern Campania. 

This passage is considered plagiarism because: 

  • the writer has only changed around a few words and phrases; and 
  • the writer has failed to cite a source for any of the ideas or facts. 

If you do either OR both of these things, you are plagiarizing.

One way to avoid doing this accidentally is to read the original passage and then write down what you remember without looking at the source. What you write is likely to be an acceptable paraphrase, and you still need to cite it.

Here is an ACCEPTABLE paraphrase

Italy is not only beautiful; the variability of its climate and its geography make it particularly favorable for the growing of certain crops. Italians are particularly successful in growing olives and corn, and grapes to be used for wine (Smith & Lawrence 23). 

This is an acceptable paraphrase because the writer: 

  • accurately relays the information in the original; 
  • uses her own words; and 
  • lets her reader know the source of her information. 

Here is an example of quotation & paraphrase used together, which is also ACCEPTABLE:

Italy is not only beautiful; the variability of its climate and its geography make it particularly favorable for the growing of certain crops. The mountains, oceans and plains "temper and vary its climate, so as to adapt it for the productions alike of the temperate and the warmest parts of Europe." Italians are particularly successful in growing olives and corn, and grapes to be used for wine. Although vineyards can be found all over the country, those of northern Campania are "the most celebrated in antiquity." (Smith & Lawrence 23). 

This is an acceptable paraphrase because the writer: 

  • accurately relays the information in the original; 
  • uses her own words; 
  • records the information in the original passage accurately; 
  • indicates which part is taken directly from her source by putting the passage in quotation marks; and 
  • lets her reader know the source of her information. 


What Is a "Scholarly" Source?

Articles can be found everywhere. The word "article" just means a piece of writing on a particular subject. So, there are newspaper articles, magazine articles, journal articles, and books that are made up of articles such as anthologies and many reference books. There is a difference, however, between the type of information you will find in articles. What is appropriate for you depends on what you want to use the information for.


  • Written by a scholar or expert in the field
  • Includes a bibliography or works cited
  • In-depth analysis of the topic, sometimes original research
  • Purpose is to inform other experts
  • Identified as "scholarly," "peer reviewed," "academic," "juried," or similar terms
  • Upper schoolers: will impress your teachers, but may be harder to read

Examples: Journals in print, stuff in JStor, reference sources

General Interest or News:

  • Written by journalists, reporters, and other writers
  • Often colorful, and include photos and other graphics
  • Articles often cite sources, sometimes within an article
  • Articles are intended for a generally educated audience
  • Purpose is to provide general information to a broad audience

Examples: Time, The New Yorker, National Geographic, Scientific American


  • Written primarily by staff members and freelance writers
  • Often colorful, slick, and have many photos and other graphics
  • Rarely, if ever, cite sources
  • Articles are usually short and written in simple language
  • Purpose is to sell, to entertain, and/or to promote a viewpoint

Examples: Sports Illustrated, People, Outside

Mildred H. McEvoy Library at Worcester Academy | 81 Providence Street | Worcester, MA 01604