Tutorials and Handouts for Research Tools
Want help learning to use research tools? These tutorials and handouts have been created by librarians and are organized by the steps in the research process.
You can also see only text-based tutorials and handouts, including transcripts of the video tutorials found here. For handouts on how to use individual databases, look for the View Handout links on the Databases A-Z page.
How do I get started?
- Deciphering Your Assignment
Understanding what your instructor is looking for is key to developing a good research strategy.
- Developing a Topic
Help figuring out what your research question or topic is.
- Generating Search Terms
How to go from a research question to identifying which words will work best in a search.
Have a general topic you're interested in, but don't know where to get started or you're feeling stuck? Try a quick search of online encyclopedias to get background information and find other authoritative sources.
- Google Advanced Search
Want tips on how to get better search results? Using Advanced Search is one way to get information about your topic, and can help you limit your results to trusted sites.
Where do I need to look?
- What is a Library Database?
Understanding the difference between library databases and other resources found on the Internet. Want to know how to use a specific database? Look for the View Handout link after the database title on the Databases A-Z page.
- Internet Searching Tips
Understanding how to use your search words with Internet resources.
- Using Google Scholar
Google Scholar is one place to find scholarly articles, and this tutorial gives you tips. You can also set your Google Scholar preferences to identify material you can access through PCC Library.
How do I know what I have is the right thing?
- Popular and Scholarly Sources
Identifying the differences between scholarly sources like journal articles and popular sources like glossy magazines. More about peer-reviewed articles can be found on this handout: What is a Peer Reviewed Article?
- Primary and Secondary Sources
Understanding what researchers mean by primary and secondary sources.
- Evaluating Internet Sources
How to get resources you can feel confident citing in your paper. Want to be sure you're getting a good source? Use the Website Evaluation Checklist.
- Annotated Bibliographies from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
How creating an annotated bibliography can improve your paper before you begin writing. You can also see an example of an annotated bibliography from OWL.
Writing and citing - how do I identify sources in my paper?
- Why You Need to Cite Sources
Citing sources is a critical piece of the research process. Find out why!
- How to Cite Sources
The nuts and bolts of citing sources. Descriptions of various citation styles and resources related to them, like the APA Style Aid or the MLA Style Aid from CLIP, the Cooperative Library Instruction Project. Also has links to citation makers.
- Incorporating Sources into Your Paper
Making the sources you found a part of your own writing, whether you are using a direct quote, paraphrasing an idea, or summarizing information. You can use the strategy found in the Voice Markers tutorial to identify where those citations go in your paper.