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Beginning Your Research with Discovery


Choosing a Topic      

Effective Searches      Image: Magnifying glass

Analyzing Search Results      Image: Gears to represent analysis of search results

Locating & Retrieving Sources      Image: Map location icon

Citing Sources & Avoiding Plagiarism      

Learning Outcomes


Beginning your Research with Discovery

  • Students will recognize a specific information need
  • Students will identify types of information sources in a variety of formats
  • Students will match their information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools


Discovery: Advanced Search

  • Students will use search language appropriate to the source, such as a controlled vocabulary, key words, natural language, author and title searches to locate relevant items in print and electronic resources.

Choosing a Topic Learning Outcomes

  • Students will understand that the type and amount of information is determined in part by the parameters of the need, as well as by the information available.


  • Students will understand that library information tools can direct them to research topic ideas and can be used to refine broad topics.


  • Students will learn the fundamentals of browsing library databases for topic identification.


  • Students will understand that librarians select reliable and credible source material that supports student topic exploration.


  • Students will determine an appropriate scope of investigation.


  • Students will gain strategies for either limiting or expanding the topics of their research. These include making use of library materials to explore ideas for focusing inquiry.

Effective Searches: Learning Outcomes

  • Students will use appropriate keywords as identified by the key concepts of their research questions.
  • Students will employ boolean operators when executing their searches.
  • Students will discover the preferred language of various database sources and search for additional resources using the subject terms they have identified.
  • Students will learn to differentiate between different information sources, such as databases, and elect to use those sources that best fit their topics.
  • Students will employ date, source-type, and format limiters to discover the most helpful information sources.
  • Students will utilize divergent (e.g., brainstorming) and convergent (e.g., selecting the best source) thinking when searching.

Analyzing Search Results: Learning Outcomes

  • Students will identify and select which materials are most relevant to their research questions and.
  • Students will apply the CRAAP test or another method of evaluating whether a source's record is suitable for an academic assignment.
  • Students will be aware that search results can be resorted by date, relevance and other ordering methods.
  • Student will develop the ability to recognize when search results lack important information, requiring additional search strategies.

Locating and Retrieving Sources

  • Students will learn how to locate information in different forms, located both physically in the library and available electronically
  • Students will learn to use librarian-created research guides
  • Students will learn to navigate the library's classification system
  • Students will become aware that they can often borrow material available beyond the library through interlibrary loan.
  • Students shall seek multiple perspectives during information gathering and assessment
  • Should understand how information systems (i.e., collections of recorded information) are organized in order to access relevant information;



Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Students will learn when and how they must credit their source material
  • Students will become aware that library databases and catalogs often create citations for the sources they select
  • Students will conscientiously observe copyright restrictions and strive to avoid plagiarism