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Gerstein Science Information Centre

Mentorship / Independent Science Unit (ISU) / Pre-University Guide

This Guide assists students in the Mentorship Program, Pre-University and high school students, particularly those in Grade 12 researching topics in the health sciences, biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics.

Before you Come to the Library

Much research can be done online from your school library, or from home. 
This guide links to high quality resources.  You may wish to begin your research project and / or paper using the online resources in this guide, along with the material from your high school and public libraries.

Getting Started

Before you begin,
  • read your assignment carefully
  • determine what is being asked in the assignment
  • are there recommended readings to use?
  • make a note of the subject, keywords or concepts

For a very broad subject, or if you are unfamiliar with the topic, you may wish to use one or more of these to help define and understand your topic:

  • a medical dictionary
  • a handbook
  • an encyclopedia
  • a general textbook
  • the Medline Plus link from the Gerstein Science Information Centre homepage

Once you narrow down your topic you might use the library catalogue for book material.  Books can provide specific information and an overview or history of your topic.

Search Tips - Journal Articles

Consider Synonyms

For "Genetically Modified Foods" search for

  • genetically modified foods
  • GM foods
  • geneticallly engineered foods
  • bioengineered foods
  • biotech foods

Link Terms

Use the word OR to link common terms such as GM foods OR geneticallly modified foods

Use the word AND to link different terms that should be included in the same citation such as GM foods AND health

Look for Other Options on the Search Page
Can you limit by year?
Can you limit by language and / or country?
Scan the titles from the search results
Some citations provide the keywords for the article.  Refine or redo your search with these terms.  
Reading through the abstract of an article will
  • help determine if the article is on topic
  • focus your search on a specific aspect of your topic, if you need to narrow down a broad topic
  • can provide you with a larger scope of interest, if your topic is too specific

Writing Your Paper

As you gather material, read and evaluate how it will fit into your research topic.  There are a number of sources that will help you format your paper by providing examples of how to cite
  • books
  • chapters of books
  • journal articles
  • web sites
Citation Machines - MLA, APA, TURABIAN and CHICAGO
  • MLA Citation Maker (OSLIS)
    Designed for high school students but covers many source styles, especially online formats like email and web pages.
  • Son of Citation Machine
    Input citation elements and allow Son of Citation Machine to produce a correctly-formatted citation in APA, MLA, Turabian, or Chicago format.
  • BibMe
    BibMe is a free automatic citation creator that supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting.
  • QuickCite (University of Aukland)
    Automatic generation of APA, Chicago, and MLA
  • Knight Cite (Calvin College)
    Generates citation models for MLA, APA and Chicago formats, for both print and electronic sources


Cheating is usually defined as: to practise deceit or to break the rules.   In the context of assessment and evaluation cheating would be defined as the deviation from the behaviour expected in an evaluation situation.  Examples include but are not limited to:
  • copying another student’s homework
  • looking on another student’s test
  • bringing unauthorized notes or notations into an evaluation
  • asking or giving someone for an answer during an evaluation
  • unauthorized use of electronic media to obtain answers during an evaluation
  • presenting an evaluation for evaluation that has been completed by someone else as your own
Plagiarism is defined as the use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another without attribution, in order to represent them as one’s own original work.  It can take many forms, including the following:
  • submitting an essay/assignment written by someone else, e.g., buying an essay online, downloading an essay from a website, having someone else complete one’s assignment, or copying or using work including homework done by another student;
  • piecing together material from one or several sources and adding only linking sentences;
  • quoting or paraphrasing material without citing the source of that material, including books, magazines, journals, websites, newspapers, television programs, radio programs, movies, videos, photographs, and drawings in print or electronic form;
  • copying and pasting from the internet or other electronic sites without citing the source; and
  • omitting quotation marks for direct quotations even if the sources have been cited.
To ensure academic honesty and avoid instances of plagiarism, students are expected to:
  • seek clarification from teachers about actions that constitute plagiarism;
  • seek remediation when their research skills are deficient;
  • understand the penalties for academic dishonesty and plagiarism; and
  • ensure that all their work is original and that they cite sources accurately and consistently.

From the Toronto District School Board Operation Procedure, PR 613 [27 Apr 2011]

And always, always, always....

Ask for HELP!
  • Teachers
  • School Librarians
  • Toronto Public Library Staff and Librarians
  • Gerstein Library Staff and Librarians