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Children's Nonfiction General

Research Virtuoso

How to Find Anything You Need to Know

by (author) Toronto Public Library

illustrated by Victor Gad

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2012
General, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2012
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 15 to 18
  • Grade: 11


An essential tool for every student!

Armed with this lively guidebook, students will be ready to face the often daunting prospect of conducting serious research in the information age. Fully revised, The Research Virtuoso covers all aspects of research: how to decide on a topic, take notes, skim material, evaluate which sources (especially those on the Internet) are most reliable, organize information, and create a bibliography.

Readers will also learn how to access a treasure trove of sources they may never have known existed, such as special collections and private libraries. The Research Virtuoso goes on to show how effective research skills will help students succeed not only at school, but also in life: when considering a company to work for or purchasing anything from electronics to a house. Charts, lists, diagrams, and Grab & Go templates clarify and expand the text. 

About the authors

The Research Virtuoso was developed by a team of experts within the Toronto Public Library team. The contributors have extensive backgrounds as educators, librarians, and authors of award-winning publications on research.

Toronto Public Library's profile page

Victor Gad’s illustrations have appeared in major newspapers and many other publications in the USA, Canada, and Europe. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Victor Gad's profile page


  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Editorial Reviews

“Here is everything you need to know about how to do . . . research in an appealing, light-hearted package.”

Resource Links, 10/12

“A practical and very useful tool for both students and adults doing research!”

CM Reviews, 05/12

“It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive guide to doing research than this one.”

Canadian Children’s Book News, 04/12

“Here is everything you need to know about how to do . . . research in an appealing, light-hearted package.”

Resource Links, 10/12

“This guide would be useful to individual researchers and to instructors who provide guidance.”

Library Media Connection, 04/01/13

Librarian Reviews

The Research Virtuoso: How to Find Anything You Need to Know

In this revised and updated guide, students are taught about the process of researching. They will learn how to conceive, organize, carry out and record research for papers and projects. Written for college and university students, this guide would also be an excellent resource for all Grade 12 students to have and read before they hit campus in the fall.

The book begins by discussing how to prepare oneself to do research. It looks at Bloom’s Taxonomy and explains how to use it to dig deeper into the research in order to analyze, evaluate and create. This first section stresses the importance of understanding the requirements of the assignment and committing to a research plan. It then goes on to discuss how to gather existing knowledge and ideas; identify key words; use visual organizers; access knowl- edge of others, including teachers and librarians; consider the audience and develop a focus for the research. Locating information and where to go to do that is discussed in the second section. It explains there are three types of information — primary, secondary and tertiary sources — and gives examples of each kind. It further elaborates on using the Internet and search engines; the library, its card catalogue and databases; archives and how to use an archival finding aid; and how to conduct personal interviews as sources of possible information.

The third section deals with evaluating and processing the information once it’s collected. It explains how to skim and scan for relevant information using the ABCs of evaluation — Is the Author someone you can trust? When evaluating the Body of a source, consider these: objectivity, accuracy, completeness, relevancy and format. And finally how Current is the information? Once this step is complete, the note taking begins, and the latter part of this section helps students organize the information they’ve collected so far. Plagiarism is discussed at length to help students avoid this dangerous trap, as are quotes, citation styles and bibliographic data.

Finally, students are ready to create their masterpieces. The last section explains how to craft a strong thesis statement, how to create an outline or structure for the paper, and the drafting stage. The authors provide a list of what is essential to any good research paper and a five-point checklist to evaluate the content; verify the facts; check the transitions, language and mechanics; polish the documentation and think about the presentation, whether it be visual, oral or written.

The Grab & Go pages included at the end of each section provide an invaluable resource for students at each stage of the research process as they include a Get Organized Checklist and blank templates to use. Recommended books on writing and research are also cited. Once students are finished writing essays, this guide will also help them do research when they’re ready to buy their first car, plan a vacation or when looking for a new job. It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive guide to doing research than this one. Grade 12, college and university students would all benefit from owning such a well-structured book.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2012. Volume 35 No. 2.

Other titles by Toronto Public Library

Other titles by Victor Gad