CAS Research

City-As Library

Room 407

9:00am – 3:30pm Monday-Friday

Email any research questions to Sara Lissa Paulson (

I am available to help you to develop a research question, to find, evaluate, integrate, and cite sources for your PBATs and and LEAPs. Walk in or make an appointment.

We believe in inquiry-based learning and learner-center teaching.



What interests you the most about your class or internship?

Drown yourself in the topic! Watch as many videos related to topic to increase your overall knowledge. Check out the videos at Khan Academy and Crash Courses. Search Youtube and Vimeo.

Also check out Open Culture and CosmoLearning to see the free online courses, learning videos, and podcasts available on your topic.



Use or adapt this helpful graphic organizer to organize your thinking.


What are the key players or experts saying about your topic? What questions do YOU have? Research is conversation.

Look for patterns and relationships, cause and effectchanges over time, and how your topic affects different groups of people when you develop your thesis or hypothesis.

You can use the inverted triangle to develop your research question. Then come up with a working answer which will be your hypothesis or thesis. It should change as you learn more.

Use the key words in your question/answer to search for more information.Use keywords like: statistics, case studies, and expert.

INVESTIGATEFINDING & EVALUATING SOURCES and WAYS TO COLLECT THEM to save time & get somewhere in your thinking

When taking notes, remember to use a double column note-taking format.

Always include the source or web address (URL) where you found that idea or quote.

Write down important statistics, quotes from experts, examples from case studies, and facts that help build your argument.

In a second column record your own thoughts about those facts and ideas, including how and where they could fit into your essay.

But before using a source, check to make sure it is reliable:

CONSTRUCT – How are you going to organize your ideas and your research?

Here is a graphic organizer for creating a ELA literary essay and an SS argumentative essay.

What insights and connections have you had? These can form the structure of your essay.

Are you including multiple perspectives or more than one point of view? What about the voices of Youth? Minorities? Immigrants? Global? Have you viewed Liberal sources? Conservative sources? Alternative Media sources? From there you can develop a counter-argument. What facts or stats could someone use to discredit or counter your argument? See below for good sites to find statistics.

If you are not writing an argumentative essay, how will you share your research? Are you going to tell it as a story or create a narrative essay? Describe a process? Create a documentary? a brochure? a slide show? an info-graphic? Did you storyboard it?


Make sure your paragraphs have your own thinking as well as quoted or paraphrased information.

Make sure your visuals tell the story you want told and add another layer to the words you carefully choose.

DID YOU CITE YOUR SOURCES in MLA8  or APA? Check out these tutorials.


What new questions do you have about your topic?

Did you change your thesis as you learned more? Email me your story at if so!

What did you learn using the inquiry process? What will you do differently next time?

Open Access Journals & Google Scholar

DOAJ – Directory of Open Access Journals, the first of these three to form as way to give free access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles.

Paperity – Open access journals and papers in every subject.

Jurn – Open access journal articles in Arts, Nature, Humanities, Medical, Law, Business and Science.

Using Google Scholar – Don’t waste money and buy articles. Use the power of your local library!!

By searching Google Scholar, you sometimes have to pay for an article you want. Why? It is searching across databases that are available only by a subscription.

What to do?? Log in with your public library card (NYPL, BPL, or QPL) and open “Academic Search Premier” on the Research & Databases tab of their website. This way, you have free access to ALL journal articles that the city library systems have subscribed to. Do not pay for an article. Ask your librarian for help. (This will also work in college–log in with your College ID/library card and you will have access to what your college library has paid for.)

ALWAYS: If you see some outlandish claims, make sure you fact check. There are some  academic journals that are masters at disguise. Remain skeptical and check your facts.

DATABASES & ONLINE ENCYCLOPEDIAS from NOVELNY – Free for all NY state residents, but not that great.

Here are some individual ones that are useful:

Science websites

Teen Health – Government site with a lot of easy-to-digest articles about teen health issues and diseases

Science Blogs – Interesting and timely topics

Science Daily – Science news site

Science Buddies – Ideas and graphic organizers for doing science research projects

English websites

CUNY Write Site – Lots of tutorials, guides on essay writing and grammar

Literary essay – List of comparison essay topics comparing two works of literature

What makes a good literature paper? – Good advice from Purdue University Writing Center

My Shakespeare – Jump into interactive, audio versions of his most famous plays

SmartWords – Very helpful lists to use during the revision process

Math websites

Math in Daily Life – Use interactives for your Math portfolio piece and learn how math is embedded in everyday life The World of Online Math – Covers all high school mathematics topics

Social Studies websites

Pew Research Center – a nonpartisan fact tank that conducts polls, demographic research, media analysis and other research about the issues and ideas facing the United States – An educational site that examines both sides of controversial issues

Primary Sources – The Digital Public Library has created easy-to-use sets of primary sources organized by major groups, time periods, events in history, and historical novels.

Museum of the World – Interactive, multimedia timeline of world history — explore artifacts across every continent from Paleolithic to contemporary times.

Statistics on Every Issue

Pew Research Center – a nonpartisan fact tank that conducts polls, demographic research, media analysis and other research about the issues and ideas facing the United States

American Fact Finder – Find frequently requested facts about your community.

Polling Reports – A nonpartisan, independent resource reporting trends in public opinion.

Tools for Learning English or other Languages

Unite for Literacy – Simple texts that you can read in English while listening to the audio in your native language or in your target language