Monday, December 20, 2010

Useful pages within the Information Skills Tutorial

The Information Skills Tutorial is a short, self-paced course in library and research skills and techniques. What you may not know is that it has been designed so that any one page of it works fine on its own. Every page of the Information Skills Tutorial is a mini-tutorial on a specific library- or research-related task.

Here are some that you might find especially useful:

  • Narrow Your Topic - this discusses how to take a broad, vague topic like "pollution" and narrow it down to something more focused and manageable like "causes of acid rain." It then explains why and how to turn your topic into a thesis or research question.
  • Sources of Information - goes through the various information sources that you might find in libraries and on the web - books, articles, and more. Each type of source has different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Primary Versus Secondary - explains how some information sources are primary, some are secondary, and some are tertiary. Each is used in a different way when you are doing research.
  • Scholarly Versus Popular - explains the difference between scholarly (peer reviewed) information sources, and those that are not. It's important to recognize the difference, and be able to search for just one kind or the other.
  • Identify Keywords - searching in databases and on the web requires that you come up with the right vocabulary.
  • Combine Keywords Into A Search - teaches you how to use Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) and other symbols to tell the database exactly what you mean.

You may want to bookmark these pages or put them in your del.icio.us or diigo account for safekeeping. You will find them useful the next time you have to do research.

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