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Students' Guide to Library Research & Information Literacy: Information Literacy Tutorials

Video tutorials and self-assessment questions comprise this Library Research and Information Literacy guide to help all levels of undergraduate students learn the process of finding, evaluating and using information throughout research.

Online Information Literacy Tutorial - Starting Out

The selection of a topic has proven to be very difficult for students new to research, and many are therefore unsuccessful in their early research attempts in college.  These tutorial links outline the basic concepts of selecting a topic, finding background information on the subject, and further developing and refining the topic through the process of research. 


1. "Where Do I Start?"


What makes a good research topic? Explore before you make decisions!


How do I find a research topic idea?


How do I develop an effective Search Strategy?


Elihu Burritt Tutorial Video(s):

“Website Overview”

“Logging Into Library Services”

“CentralSearch: Finding Books”

CentralSearch: Finding Articles"

“How to Read a Call Number”

"Searching Academic Search Premier Database Tutorial"

"Searching National Newspaper Premier Database Tutorial"


Test your knowledge! After finishing the tutorials above, can you answer these questions?

1. How can you access the full text of an article? Can you do it from CentralSearch, from a database (like Academic Search Premier), or both?

2.  Use this map of the library to determine in which stack you would find the following circulating books. In what order would you find these on the shelves?

"QL737 C23 S863 2002"  and  "QL737 C23 K58 1991"  and  "QE 363.2 G8213 2005"

3. Suppose you have the research question "How can social media be used to promote education?" What are some keywords and synonyms you could use to search for information on your topic in databases?

Online Information Literacy Tutorial - Evaluating Information

In these tutorials, you are provided with the basic methods for evaluating sources of information and information itself. Whether it is found on the open Internet/Web (e.g., Google) or through an academic database of scholarly literature, you will need to learn how to evaluate any given source. You might have access to subject-specific databases at a future job, such as in engineering, research and development or marketing - but there are many jobs and careers in which you might not have access to subscription databases (like or Lexis-Nexis). Learning the process of critical analysis and evaluation can help you determine the reliability of information from any source.


1. "How Do I Evaluate Sources?"


Evaluating Sources for Credibility


Types of Information and Publications


One Perfect Source?


Popular and Scholarly Sources


From Idea to Library


What is peer review? Peer Review in 3 minutes                       


As you're researching, think about how to synthesize the information into your project. Synthesis involves determining the importance of information and how it relates to the end product. You must constantly ask: How will this information help me accomplish my goal? Here are some steps you can follow while reading resources:


  • Summarizing the information
    • Outline
    • Notecards
  • Determining how the information relates to your project
    • Does it provide evidence for or against?
    • Does it provide key background information to assist your readers in understanding your argument?
  • Arguing and reflecting with information
    • Do you agree with the points as presented? Why or why not?
  • Discovering how the information moves your project forward or backward

Elihu Burritt Tutorial Video(s):

"Evaluating Websites for Research"

"How Credible Is Your Information?"

"Using Primary Sources at Burritt Library"

"Scholarly Journals and Popular Magazines: Know the Difference?"


2. "What Counts as Evidence?"


Elihu Burritt Tutorial Video(s):

Please suggest some customized videos you would like us to add.



Test your knowledge! After finishing the tutorials above, can you answer these questions?

1. Are the following characteristics of scholarly journals or popular magazines?

Refereed articles, advertisements, citations, general audience

2. Look at the following website. What is the website about, and how credible is it?

Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division


Online Information Literacy Tutorial - Using Information

This last set of information literacy tutorial modules emphasizes the writing and citation of your research sources for a research project, with an entire module devoted to avoiding plagiarism. Please keep in mind that you might view these tutorials "out of order," depending upon the kind of research help you need at any given time during a research project. For instance, you might choose to learn how to format a citation while you are gathering sources so that you can build your bibliography as you conduct your research. Noting citations for every potentially usable resource as you find them is a good habit to practice so that you don't have to replicate a search in order to rediscover a source that you wanted to use (it's often hard to find the same source twice). 

We have included a link to CCSU's Academic Integrity policy for our CCSU students. Please don't hesitate to suggest other links or additional resources that you think would be helpful!


1. "How Do I Write a Thesis Statement?"


What is a thesis statement and how do I create one?


How do I develop key concepts from a thesis statement?


Elihu Burritt Tutorial Video(s):

Please suggest some customized videos you would like us to add.


2. "How Do I Organize My Argument?"

Once you've found and evaluated information, you will need to organize it. It will allow you to apply information in a way that increases your ability to be understood. There are various ways to organize information:


Categorically or Conceptually

  • Useful when discussing the pros and cons of an idea.
  • Example: A persuasive essay about differential instruction in a classroom.


  • Useful when explaining an outcome.
  • Example: Explaining the progression of patient treatment in a physical therapy ward.


  • Useful when information needs to be in a specific order.
  • Example: A guide for diagnosing a patient's illness, starting with the most simple and moving up.


  • Useful for presentations and organizing specialized vocabulary.
  • Example: A student is writing a discipline-specific paper and needs to know key terms' definitions. Placing them in alphabetical order helps her find them more easily.



Elihu Burritt Tutorial Video(s):

Please suggest some customized videos you would like us to add.


3. "How Do I Avoid Plagiarism and Find My Own Voice?"


What is Plagiarism?


Avoiding Plagiarism


What is paraphrasing?


Anatomy of a Citation and Reference



       Elihu Burritt Tutorial Video(s):

MLA and APA Citation Formats


4. "What Do I Look for When I Revise?"



Elihu Burritt Tutorial Video(s):

Please suggest some customized videos you would like us to add.


Test your knowledge! After finishing the tutorials above, can you answer these questions?

1. You have been assigned a paper on gender portrayal in popular media. How can you narrow this topic into a manageable thesis?

2. If you used information from any of the following sources in a paper, would you need to cite it?

An academic journal article, a speech, a newspaper article, a YouTube video, a blog post

3. Take a look at the citation formats outlined on the Purdue OWL website. Given the following information, how would you cite this periodical article in a bibliography in MLA? In APA?

Title: Dogs hijack the human bonding pathway: Oxytocin facilitates social connections between humans and dogs

Author(s): Evan L. MacLean and Brian Hare

Publication Date: April 2015

DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1200

Pages: pp. 280-281

Journal Title: Science

Journal Volume: 348

Journal Issue: 6232

Test Your Knowledge Answers

Subject Guide

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