Photos and Art licensed for use under the terms of Creative Commons.


Melissa High School

Freshman Humanities Project

Country Quest

Where Would You Live?

General Reference

The CIA World Factbook

Online almanac. A wealth of information about every country.

Encyclopedia of the Nations

Population, history, ethnic groups, culture, language, transportation, government, and technology. Notes about museums, media, libraries, technology, and more.


Great for comparing nations. Generate maps and graphs on all kinds of statistics. Country Comparison Tool

Compare any two countries in a variety of areas.

UNESCO Statistics

Comparable statistics on education, science and technology, culture, and communication for more than 200 countries and territories

U.S. Department of State Country Profiles

This is a good place to start learning about where you might be going

If It Were My Home

Compare countries in several key areas. Use the country comparison tool to compare living conditions in the U.S. to those of another country. 

Times Topics

From the New York Times. Analyses about places. News, reference, archival material.

U.N. Data

Information from the United Nations.


This site is sort of like a Wiki for comparing countries. People contribute by entering data for the city where they live. You can use that data to compare cost of living, property prices, traffic, crime, health care, safety, etc.

Index Mundi

Provides an historical context for information like birth rate, population, etc. Shows how the numbers have changed over time.

BBC Country Profiles and BBC Special Reports

General info, reports on recent top news stories. Look in the menu for your country’s region.

Gale Student Resources in Context Database

See librarian for the password. Hint: Birdie plural.


Health, Safety, and Risk

U.S. Department of State Travel Site

Safety advice for travelers: Crime, natural disaster risks, medical risks, etc.

Travel Reports and Warnings (Canada) and Travel Advice by Country (UK)

See other countries’ perspectives on where it’s dangerous as advised here (scroll down).

World Health Organization

Health profiles of countries. Data on life expectancy, immunization rates, nutrition, diseases, birth/death rates and more. 

Meteorological Disasters, 1980-2009

Scroll down below the map to see the data.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Health Info for Travelers

Health risks in each country.

World Risk Index

Dig through this PDF and get to page 64 which ranks countries in order of risk.

Natural Disasters Risk Index

An interesting map ranking countries in terms of natural disaster risk.

Risk Briefing

from Economist Intelligence Unit.


Countries and Their Cultures

Short overviews of countries and their cultures.

Food By Country

Food history and traditions, recipes.

National Geographic Travel and Cultures

Destinations A-Z. Travel information from a respected travel source.

The Geert Hofstede Survey

Examines attitudes of people in more than 70 countries in six areas. One example is Power Distance, “the degree to which the less powerful members of a society accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.” Fascinating stuff. Notes that the numbers are only good for comparing countries. They are meaningless by themselves.


Quality of Life Rankings

OECD Better Life Index

You set your priorities for what makes a better life. The interactive tool on this site then ranks the countries. Housing, income, safety, environment, jobs, education, community, and more.

International Living’s Quality of Life Index

Places rated based on cost of living, climate, health factors, culture, economy, freedom, environment, safety & risk, and infrastructure. There is bias, as they explain. Read! Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey– Global

Another ranking of cities. They claim to be objective, neutral, and unbiased.

Quality of Living: The World’s Most Livable Cities

Find info about crime, drugs, economy, etc.

International Human development Indicators

United Nations Development Programme report, sponsored by the United Nations.



Maps of the World

It is what it says.

MapMaker Interactive

From National Geographic. Has nice tools allowing you to create and label custom maps.

Perry-Castañeda Map Collection from UT Austin

Make sure to check out the thematic maps. Lots of info about climate, energy, ethnicity, economy, land use, and more.

How Big Really?

From the BBC Dimensions Project. Dimensions takes important places, events and things, and overlays them onto a map of where you are.



United Nations Crime and Criminal Justice

Lots of information to compare crime/corruption, but a lot of it downloads to an Excel spreadsheet. Don’t let that freak you out. Just open the spreadsheet. 

Reality Check: Is the crime rate higher in developed countries?

Important to consider that a higher reported crime rate could be the result of better law enforcement and reporting.

NationMaster Crime Stats by Country



Environment Statistics: Country Snapshots

United Nations Environmental Indicators

Air, climate, biodiversity, water, waste, and more.

Environmental Performance Index

From Yale University. Compare countries based on environmental factors such as pollution.



Education Data

From The World Bank. Compare countries based on educational factors such as literacy rate, school enrollment, etc.


Cost of Living

Numbeo Cost of Living

You can see and compare prices for common items like milk, coffee, and jeans.

Currency Converter

Convert foreign money to dollars and vice-versa.



Cities Around the World

Search Creative Commons

Find copyright-friendly photos


Civil Rights and Political/Economic Freedom

Democracy Web Map of Freedom

Visual portrait of the state of freedom around the world. Grades countries’ freedom staus based on data about civil rights, women’s rights, etc.

Human Rights in Countries

From Amnesty International.

Press Reference

Freedom of the press. Describes the state of the media in each country.

Economic Freedom

Compares countries based on economic factors. It defines economic freedom as 1.) Respect for individual property rights/lack of corruption 2.) Limited government (taxes and spending), 3.)Regulatory efficiency,  and 4.) Open markets. Kinda deep but interesting.



World Weather Information Service

From the World Meteorological Association. Get average highs/lows, precipitation, etc.

Temperature Converter

Convert Celcius to Fahrenheit and vice-versa.


Travel Guides

The Lonely Planet Destinations

Rick Steves’ Europe

Rough Guides Travel Destinations

Let’s Go Travel Guide

Yahoo Travel Guides

The Travel Chanel Destinations

Travel and Leisure Travel Guides

The Virtual Tourist

This guide is made by real travelers who post their experiences, photos, tips, etc.



















Evaluating Websites: Think Critically!


Research Tools and Other Stuff

The Web Evaluation Checklist

The handout.

Evaluating Web Pages

from UC Berkeley. Source of the handout in more detail.

Whois Lookup

Find out who registered the domain for a website and who is the contact.

Alexa Site Info

Great tool to dig out information about websites.

Info Game: Evaluation

Great examples for identifying point of view and bias.

Evaluation During Reading

Once you’ve decided to read some info, here’s how to to ensure it’s legit.

How to Evaluate a Book For Your Annotated Bib

Show you what to consider when evaluating a book as a source of information.

What is the Diffference Between a Peer-Reviewed Journal and a Magazine?

Explains the difference between scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals and  regular magazines.


Ebsco Database

Newspaper and magazine articles, reference books. See teacher for username/password.

Gale Databases

Newspaper and magazine articles, reference books.

Noodle Tools

Log in to your account. This is where you will keep your notes for the project. Click here for directions about sharing your project with your teacher.


Another free tool for taking notes and saving them online. Keeps all your stuff in one place.

Student Email/Google Docs Login

Access your school email and Google Docs account


Online mind-mapping tool. Perfect for making your question web.  Here are directions.

Search the Library Catalog: Destiny

See what’s available in our MHS library


Photo hosting site. Handy for getting graphics into NoodleTools notes.

Socrative Student Login






Search Strategies


Taking Notes and Writing Your Paper


Search engine strategies, keywords, boolean (or/or/not) logic, truncating, phrase searching.

Building Blocks of Research: Precise Searches

Basic search and Advanced search

Tips for doing a Google search smarter and faster.

Altavista, Dogpile, DuckDuckGo, WolframAlpha, Blekko,

Alternatives to Google. Remember, different search engines might uncover different sites.




Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

From the Purdue OWL. What you need to know for good note taking.

Making an Outline

Why to do it, how to do it, plus an example.

Outlining Practice

This is the handout for the exercise.

Noodle Tools User’s Guide

Look here for answers to issues before you ask your teacher please.