WR 121 Bryant: Home

Check out the Portland Metro and Oregon Research Guide

I highly recommend checking out the Portland Metro and Oregon Research Guide, designed to help students doing local research projects about local issues by providing resources related to metro Portland and Oregon. Here's what you'll find in it:

  • Data & Census - Find statistical data and census (population demographics) information.
  • Government - Links to city, Metro, county, and state government data and information.
  • News - Find information on local issues from news media sources.
  • Maps & Neighborhoods - Local and state map sources and individual Portland neighborhood data.

Portland, OR and Mount Hood from Pittock Mansion
Portland, OR and Mount Hood from Pittock Mansion from the Wikimedia Commons.

Beyond Google: Library Resources that Might be Useful

Brainstorm Keywords for Searching

As you read about your topic, make a note of search terms that will be useful for finding articles on your topic.  When you are searching Google or other search engines, you can use "natural language" searching - just type in your whole question and you may find exactly what you want.  Database searching and advanced Google searching requires more precise use of search terms. 

Watch the 2 minute video from Portland State University below for some useful tips.  

Evaluating Sources on the Web

On the web, it can be difficult to tell what type of source you’re looking at and whether or not it’s something that would provide quality evidence for your assignment. This video will help you look more critically at your own search results.

Questions to Ask About Your Sources

  • Is this article relevant? What is the author writing about and how does that relate to what you're researching?
  • Who are the authors and what are their qualifications? Are their qualifications good enough for the weight you are placing on their conclusions? When in doubt, Google the author(s).
  • Who published this? What is their purpose? To inform? To promote a particular viewpoint? To sell something? Do you feel like you can trust them? (when in doubt, Google the publication or look for an "About" page on their website)
  • Can you tell where the author got their information from? Their own experience? Interviewing people? A research experiment? Other experts? Do they provide references or some clue about their own sources?

Based on all that, Is this source useful? If so, how might this source be used? Does it have quality useful information itself or does it link to other useful sources? If it's not something you'd cite, might it have any usefulness? Even a source you wouldn't cite might give you ideas of how to focus your topic or what to look for.