Developing the Digital Literacy Skills of Middle School Students

Gale’s Research in Context is designed to bridge the gap between our Kids InfoBits resource for primary school students and the more subject-specific resources within the In Context family, listed in the navigation box to the left, which are developed for later secondary school and undergraduate student use.

Students aged 11-13 will love the Research in Context interface which – highly visual and intuitive in terms of design, navigation and tools – will appeal to this age group. The strong visual aesthetics are combined with the extensive authoritative content students in middle school and the initial years of secondary school need to complete their assignments and coursework.

Research in Context is cross-disciplinary in nature, spanning literature, science, social studies, geography, political and world history.It offers a wide range of materials on all these subjects, from books, images and biographies to audio, video, magazines, newspapers, creative works and primary sources from leading publishers such as UXL, Lucent, and Scholastic. Curated and assembled specifically for the middle school student, Research in Context supports and develops vital information and digital literacy skills.

Scope, Depth and Content

  • The most-studied topics, with content written explicitly for middle schoolers — Provides accessible and targeted overviews on the subjects and social issues most studied by, and relevant to, middle school users, covering topics in the fields of culture, government, people, world history, geography, literature, science and social issues. Also includes science experiments and contextual information for key works and documents.
  • Engaging reference, periodical, and multimedia content, such as books, images, biographies, audio, video, magazines, newspapers, creative works, primary sources and more.
  • More than 250 portal pages*, including topics core to middle school curriculums, such as; force and motion (science), characterisation (literature), natural resources (science and politics), Anne Frank (world history) and bullying (social studies).
  • More than 52,000 biographies, from sources such as UXL Biographies, Newsmakers, Scientists: Their Lives & Works, Discovering Biography, Encyclopedia of World Biography.
  • Almost 3,000 primary documents, including government documents, court testimony, letters, legislation, letters, memoirs and more.
  • 700 creative works, for example widely studied poems, short stories and plays.
  • More than 350 magazines in full-text, including Science News, National Geographic Kids and Scholastic News.
*as of Autumn 2015 – two or more added every month on average.

Authoritative Reference Content

  • Authoritative information sources — Proprietary Gale, UXL, and Lucent titles and content from leading sources like National Geographic, Scholastic, NPR, NASA and AP Video News.
  • A range of reference content — Includes over 3,000 plot summaries, more than 7,000 critical essays and over 50,000 reference articles.
  • Example reference titles include —
    • Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures
    • Mythology and Culture Worldwide
    • Discovering Multicultural America
    • UXL Encyclopedia of Science 3rd ed. (2015)
    • UXL Junior Discovering Authors
    • Exploring Poetry
    • Science Behind Sports (Lucent series)
    • Technology 360 (Lucent series)
    • Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography

Continual Updates

On average, 2-3 new portal pages are added each month, and new topic selection is primarily driven by major subjects in middle school curriculums, top searches, hot topics in the news, and customer and user feedback. Images, videos, and audio files continuously flow into Research in Context and new full-text periodical and newspaper articles are added every day.

New portals released since May 2015 include:
  • Call of the Wild (adventure novel by Jack London)
  • Characterisation
  • Economic Systems
  • Force and Motion
  • Geological Time
  • The Hobbit (fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Natural Resources
  • The Ottoman Empire
  • Palestinians
  • Progressive Movement
  • Stephen King (author)
  • The Giver (young-adult novel by Lois Lowry)

  • Testimonials

    “I am so glad to see a high-quality database being developed for this age group.”
    Kathy, Librarian

    “Some sites don’t have reliable information, or information so hard to understand that I can’t get anything done,
    but this seems really easy and reliable.”
    Calle, Age 12

    “I like the layout, it’s not confusing. It’s good, more organised, and I like the quick facts.”
    Hannah, age 13