11 Reference Information Seeking Assignment


This assignment gives you an opportunity to practice using a variety of reference sources to help you find background and statistical information on different topics. Please read the directions below carefully (pp.1-5).

  • For Questions 1-5 (Part 1), you will be using the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), available through SAC’s Nealley Library website. The Gale Virtual Reference Library contains articles from different subject encyclopedias.
  • For Questions 6-10 (Part 2), you will use free, online versions of reference sources listed in Part 2 of this document.
  • Please submit your answers in a Word (.doc, .docx, .rtf) or .pdf document through Blackboard.

PART 1: GALE VIRTUAL REFERENCE Library (Questions 1-5)

  • Use the Nealley Library’s online collection of Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) to answer Questions 1-5 below.
  • To access the GVRL, take the following steps:

1) Go to the Nealley Library homepage at www.sac.edu/library
2) Click the link “Find Articles and E-books” (left side of screen)
3) Click the link “Gale Virtual Reference Library”(under the heading “General Databases (Find Articles on All Topics)”)
4) Login with your WebAdvisor username and password, if prompted

  • HINT: The bolded words in the questions indicate key words you want to use to find information. I’m helping you out because we haven’t yet learned to search online products – that is coming soon. I want you to focus on the information.
  • The screenshot below shows a sample GVRL article. I’ve highlighted where to find the title of the encyclopedia articles and the title of the encyclopedia. You will be asked to identify this type of citation information for some of the questions in this assignment.

  • Begin Questions 1-5 on the next page.
  1. You are doing a short presentation on hoodies (their origin, popularity, etc.) for your fashion design class. Find an article in Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) product for your report, and then read it to answer the following questions . HINT: Use the search box located in the top center of the GVRL homepage.
  • Who were the first hoodies made by and for whom?
  • Title of reference book used:

2. You are researching the topic of the minimum wage for a 3 page research report for English. You need to find out why the federal minimum wage for tipped workers is lower than the standard minimum wage. Find an encyclopedia article that provides background to this topic.

  • Why is the federal minimum wage for tipped workers lower than the standard minimum wage?
  • Title of reference book used:

3. You want to learn more about privacy issues involving cloud computing for an information ethics project. Find an encyclopedia article that provides background to this topic.

  • How does the article on this topic define cloud computing:
  • Title of reference book used:

4. For your criminal justice class, you are doing a 2-3 page paper on the controversial Stand Your Ground laws (allowing people to defend themselves with force, as considered with the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case in Florida). You need to find an article in a reference book (GVRL) that explains it in depth so you can better describe it. Be sure to put the answer in your own words for paraphrasing practice.

  • What is the Stand Your Ground Law? (summarize in 1-2 sentences)
  • Title of the reference book used:

5. For your psychology class you want to do a research paper on technology and relationships but you aren’t sure what to write about. You want an encyclopedia article to help you focus your interest into a research question. Search for one in Gale Virtual Reference for an article which can help you do that.

  • What is the name of the article you found provided the best overview to the topic?
  • Title of the reference book used:


Use free, online versions of traditional reference sources/tools to answer the following reference questions. I provided links to the online reference tools you’ll need to answer Questions 6-10. These can be somewhat awkward to use since they are each organized differently, so you’ll want to have patience and give yourself time to navigate them.
HINT: the bolded words are the ones you probably want to use when searching the source for the answers.

6. SOURCE: Roget’s Thesaurus – http://www.thesaurus.com/Roget-Alpha-Index.html

You are writing a paper and need to find other words that mean research to vary the terminology in your writing.

a. What are some other terms (synonyms) for the word “research”?

7. SOURCE: Data.gov (U.S. Government’s Open Data) – http://www.data.gov

This site offers free data sets and other types of resources on a wide variety of topics including agriculture, climate, finance, health, public safety, local government, and science. For example, if you wanted to learn more about different impacts of climate change, you might find helpful data and information sources on this site compiled by government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

a. On the Data.gov site, select the “Climate” link under “Browse Topics” and answer the following:

What type of data and resources can you find within the “Climate” section?

Select the link for the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit (scroll down the page to see all the features). List one feature of this page that looks interesting to you and explain why you chose it (1-2 sentences).

  1. SOURCE: United States Census Bureau Website – http://www.census.gov/ The Census Bureau collects and distributes data about the U.S. population (its people) and its economy. Using resources provided through the Census Bureau website, answer the questions for parts A and B below.
    1. You need to find up-to-date figures for the U.S. and world population. Use the Population Clock on the U.S. Census Bureau homepage to find those numbers and list them below.U.S. Population: World Population:
    2. You need demographics (or statistical data) about the people who live in California for a Sociology paper. Use the Quick Facts tool located on the U.S. Census Bureau homepage to access the following information.What percentage did the population of California increase from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015?What percentage of Californians have a bachelor’s degree or higher?
  2. SOURCE: WebMD – http://www.webmd.com
    WebMD is a health reference site managed by medical experts.You just learned a member of your family has epilepsy and you want to find information about this condition. Go to the WebMd site and enter “epilepsy” into the search box (located on the upper-right side).

    1. What were the first 3 results of your search?
    2. What types of information does the “Epilepsy Health Center” offer?

IMPORTANT: “The contents of the WebMD Site, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the WebMD Site (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.“
– http://www.webmd.com/about-webmd-policies/additional-info?ss=ftr

10. SOURCE: The official website of the city or county where you live
Local government websites often provide reference information such as demographics about

their residents, services available for their community, public records, and much more.

a. Visit the official website of the city or county where you live and provide the URL or web address of a page within the website that lists local services.
HINT: Try starting with Google or another search engine of your choice (e.g., Bing), and enter the name of your city or county followed by “California” into the search box. It’s important to include state information (California) so that you do not retrieve sites for cities or counties with the same name as yours that reside in other states (e.g., Orange County, Florida).

Local services URL:
List 3 local services provided in your city/county:

– End of Assignment –


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