Library Research Skills for First Year Seminar Students

Library Research Skills for First Year Seminar Students

Kara Blizzard

University of Alberta

Library Research Skills for First Year Seminar Students

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Library Research Skills for First Year Seminar Students by Augustana Campus Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Introduction

Welcome to Library Research Skills for First Year Seminar Students. This series of modules was designed for students taking AUIDS 101 at the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus.

 Learning Objectives

One of the learning objectives of FYS at Augustana is to “analyze, evaluate, and appropriately use information and ideas from multiple perspectives.” These modules are meant to help you learn many of these skills. By the end of these modules, you should be able to:

  • Find specific books and articles using the library website
  • Choose a strong research topic and identify its key terms
  • Find relevant scholarly information about your topic through the library
  • Cite your sources in MLA style

Contents

Module 1: Introduction to the Library

Module 2: Finding Specific Books and Articles

Module 3: Choosing a Research Topic and Key Terms

Module 4: Searching for Information on a Topic

Module 5: Citing Your Sources

 

How to Navigate these Modules

Use any of these options:

  • The “Contents” menu in the top left to see each module and its sections
  • The left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to move between pages
  • The blue navigation buttons at the very bottom of your browser window to move between pages

Introduction to the Library

I

1.1 Introduction to the Library

We’re here to help!

If you have any questions about your research or about library services, please feel free to ask using any of these options:

We offer many services and resources

Recent Augustana graduate Braeden will take you on a tour of the library.

 

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In the next video, Braeden describes some of the ways librarians can help you.

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Finding Specific Books & Articles

II

2.1 Finding Specific Books & Articles

You’ll need to find readings for many of your courses at Augustana, including FYS. The search box on the library website is the place to search for books, articles, and other items in our collection. Complete the tutorial below to learn how it works.

 

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Check your knowledge

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2.2 Finding a Book on the Shelf

To find a book in the library, you’ll need to know how to read its call number. Watch the video below to learn how. You can also use this document, which gives a summary of how call numbers are organized.

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Choosing a Research Topic & Key Terms

III

3.1 Choosing a Research Topic

Note about Module 3 Exercise

At the end of Module 3, you will be asked to complete an exercise involving choosing a research topic and identifying its key terms. If you learn best by doing, you can already download that exercise and work on it as you complete Module 3.

Choosing a topic is a crucial part of the research process. The video below explains some of the things you should consider when deciding on a topic.

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3.2 Identifying Key Terms

Once you have a topic in mind, identifying its key terms can help direct your research. The next video explains how to do this.

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Module 3 Exercise: Choosing a Research Topic & Key Terms

Now that you have learned about choosing a research topic and identifying its key terms, you’re ready to complete the Module 3 Exercise, which asks you to identify your own research topic and its key terms. Click on either the PDF or Google Docs version below to get started.

Fillable PDF version

Module 3 Exercise: Choosing a Research Topic and Key Terms (PDF version)

First download the document and open it with a PDF reader. Then type in your answers, save the file, and print it or upload it to eClass to submit to your course instructor.

Google Docs version

Module 3 Exercise: Choosing a Research Topic and Key Terms (Google Docs version)

First open the document, go to the File menu, and choose “Make a copy.” Then you can edit your copy and print it or upload it to eClass to submit to your course instructor.

Searching for Information on a Topic

IV

4.1 Why Search for Information?

Note about Module 4 & 5 Exercise

At the end of Module 5, you will be asked to complete an exercise involving finding information on a topic and then citing it. If you learn best by doing, you can already download that exercise and work on it as you complete Modules 4 and 5.

Your university professors will often ask you to find and use information sources when you write about a topic. Why do you need to incorporate other people’s ideas? Click on each of the reasons below to learn about them.

 

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Later you’ll learn about how to credit the sources you use, but next we’re going to look at how to find them.

4.2 Search Techniques

Putting a Search Together

Before you start to search for information, it’s a good idea to know some strategies for putting a search together. The next video shows how to combine your key terms.

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Truncation and Phrase Searching

There are two more techniques that can come in handy when you’re searching library databases: truncation and phrase searching. Watch the video below to learn how they work.

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4.4 Types of Information Sources

Identifying Information Sources

When you’re doing any kind of research, you are likely to encounter a variety of types of information sources. Usually, your instructor will ask you to find scholarly or academic sources, which are written by experts with the goal of advancing knowledge in their field.

The next tutorial lists some common information sources and their characteristics. Click on the information icons () to see examples (best viewed in full screen mode).

 

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The Peer Review Process

Your course instructor might ask you to find peer-reviewed or scholarly articles on a topic. But what does peer review actually mean? The next video explains.

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Citing Your Sources

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5.1 Introduction to Citation

Why Cite?

What is citation, and why is it important? Watch the video below to find out.

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5.2 Introduction to MLA Style

Introduction to MLA Style

MLA is one of the most commonly used citation styles. It includes two components, which are described below.

In-text Citation

Whenever you use words or ideas from a source in your text, you need to provide an in-text citation. In MLA style, this includes the author last name(s) and the page number where the information can be found. For example:

(Blau and Lawrence 25)

Works Cited List Entry

The second component of an MLA-style citation is the works cited list entry, which goes at the end of your paper and includes full citation details for a source.

Your Works Cited List entries should be organized in alphabetical order, and each one should have a hanging indent. For example:

Blau, Francine D., and Lawrence M. Kahn. “Rising Wage Inequality and the U.S. Gender Gap.” The American Economic Review, vol. 84, no. 2, 1994, pp. 23-28. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2117795.

MLA uses nine core elements for citing sources, but you usually won’t need to use all of them for a single source. Click on each element below to learn more about it.

 

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MLA Style Resources

When you are citing sources in MLA style, the following resources can be helpful:

5.3 Citing Books in MLA Style

Book citations can include any of the elements described in the previous section. The interactive slides below will guide you through citing a book or a book chapter.

Citing a Whole Book

On each slide, click on the image icons () to see examples of where to find citation information (best viewed in full screen mode). 

 

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Citing a Single Chapter In a Book

On each slide, click on the image icons () to see examples of where to find citation information (best viewed in full screen mode). 

 

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5.4 Citing Articles in MLA Style

Journal article citations can include any of the elements described at the beginning of this module. The interactive slides below will guide you through citing an article.

On each slide, click on the image icons () to see examples of where to find citation information (best viewed in full screen mode).

 

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Module 4 & 5 Exercise: Finding & Citing Information on a Topic

Now that you have learned about searching for books and articles and citing them, you’re ready to complete the Module 4 & 5 Exercise, which asks you to find one book and one article relevant to your topic and cite them in MLA style. Click on either the PDF or Google Docs version below to get started.

Fillable PDF version

Module 4 & 5 Exercise: Finding and Citing Information on a Topic (PDF version)

First download the document and open it with a PDF reader. Then type in your answers, save the file, and print it or upload it to eClass to submit to your course instructor.

Google Docs version

Module 4 & 5 Exercise: Finding and Citing Information on a Topic (Google Docs version)

First open the document, go to the File menu, and choose “Make a copy.” Then you can edit your copy and print it or upload it to eClass to submit to your course instructor.

You're Finished!

1

Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of the modules! The skills and concepts you have learned will help you both in your FYS course and throughout your degree program. If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

I would appreciate if you complete this short survey to help me learn what’s working and how the modules can be improved.