Our Learning Commons
Welcome to the WCHS library: your source for credible, reliable academic resources and information. We have introduced new protocols to keep you safe. Learn about them here.
YES, YOU CAN BORROW MATERIALS DURING THE PANDEMIC!
For staff and student safety during Covid-19, the WCHS Library is offering touch-less browsing and sign out:
- use the Online Catalogue to find books and DVDs in our collection. Find a video tutorial on how to use the catalogue here.
- Once you have identified items you wish to borrow, submit a Request for Materials form. You must be signed into your @educbe.ca account to access the form.
- WCHS Library staff will email you at your @educbe.ca account when your materials are ready for pick up.
- When materials are returned, they will be quarantined for 72 hours before being returned to the shelves.
The WCHS library is open 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday-Thursday and Friday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM. We have an extensive collection of print and digital resources for study, research or pleasure reading, laptop and desktop computers, and portable technology such as cameras. Students are welcome to use the library independently, or with their classes.
The WCHS Library website is a portal to credible academic resources, including the Online Reference Centre (ORC) and our Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL). The webpage also gives access to the Library’s online catalogue. Ask your teacher-librarian, Ms. Prentice for a list of useful usernames and passwords to access our collection of digital resources.
10 Steps to a Better Research Paper
- Ask for help. Use the human resources available to you as well as the material resources. Library staff and teachers want to help you! Ask for help in finding and evaluating sources, or for help in figuring out what to do with the material you’ve collected so far. Our library staff are happy to help you find relevant material for your project.
- Schedule! Write up a schedule with a series of milestones to accomplish by a specific date (e.g. find 10 sources by September 20, finish preliminary research by October 15), and keep to it. You will need time to get an overview of what material is out there, take notes, and start putting it together.
- Start, don’t end, with Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a great place to start your research — spend some time searching for keywords related to your topic, browsing the links you find on each page, and following their suggested resources. Take notes, especially of any good sources they recommend. The goal here is to get a good overview of the subject you’re writing about. By the time you get ready to write, though, you should have much better sources than Wikipedia, so avoid citing it in your paper. Gale’s In Context resources on the Online Reference Centre can also be helpful – they have great Topic Overview pages on a range of subjects.
- Mine bibliographies. Once you’ve found a good book or essay on your topic, you’re golden — at the end there will be a list of sources for you to look up. You can usually skim through the bibliography and note down anything whose title sounds relevant to your research.
- Have a research question in mind. You need a kind of “working thesis” while doing your research — a question you want to answer. As you come across new material, ask yourself if it looks like it will help you answer your question. Get one or two good sources for background (eg. your initial Wikipedia research) and then keep focused by working towards an answer to your research question.
- Deal with one piece at a time. Don’t try to tackle your subject all at once. Get enough of a sense of the topic that you can create an outline of the things you need to understand, and then deal with each piece on its own. You’ll find the connections between the pieces when you write your first draft.
- Use a system. Start your research with an idea of how you plan to collect and organize your notes and data. [A good system] is to use a one-subject notebook or a WORKSHEET. At the top of a fresh page, write the full bibliographic reference for a book or paper, then copy quotes and write notes — both tagged with the page numbers they came from — interspersed with thoughts and ideas that occur to you as you are reading. Whatever system you decide on, make sure that every quote, fact, and thought is tied in some way to its source so that you can easily insert references while you’re writing.
- Know your resources. Spend some time getting to know what resources, both online [periodicals!] and offline, your library has to offer. Come talk to the WCHS library staff for help finding the materials you’ll use a lot in the course of most research projects. Get to know the research material you can access from home.
- Bring it up to date. Pay attention to the publication date of your material — while it’s ok to use older material, ideally you’d like the bulk of your references to come from the last 10 years or so.
- Evaluate your sources. Ask yourself "Who wrote the article or book? Who funded the research? Do they have a vested interest in the results? " Use the C-CRAAP test to evaluate your sources.
These tips will make writing your paper much smoother. You will have a solid bibliography and plenty of notes at your fingertips when you sit down to write up your paper. Good Luck!
(barely adapted from "Advice for Students: 10 Steps Toward Better Research" by Dustin Wax.
Be a Digital Volunteer
Are you interested in volunteering, but not sure how to fit another commitment into your busy schedule? Check out digital volunteerism! These organizations give you the opportunity to participate in meaningful digital volunteer opportunities on your own timeline, without ever leaving your home. Whether you are interested in history, science or humanitarianism, there's something for everyone:
Conducting Research? We have resources to help you.
Whether you're researching a class project, conducting an IB inquiry or working on your extended essay, we have curated resources to help you.
Begin with our Research Guides, found on the right-hand side of our WCHS Library site:
- Research Like A Pro is a good place to start. Learn about the range of credible academic materials available to you, watch video tutorials on how to effectively work with databases, Google Scholar, and more.
- Accessing academic journal articles is tricky. Go to Find Academic Journal Articles for tips and suggestions for avoiding those dreaded paywall blocks.
- Lack of knowledge is no excuse! Avoid plagiarism charges by properly addressing references and citations. Our Referencing and Citations page has links to useful online resources, video tutorials and more.
New Books are Starting to Arrive!
The first book orders of the year are starting to come in! Be sure to stop by the library to sign out some of our newest additions to the library collection.
Accessing School Wireless
Welcome back to a new school year, Redhawks!
If you need assistance connecting to our school wireless, just watch the following short video (no sound).
Try this troubleshooting guide.