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Research Instruction Services: Tutorials

Explore the guide to learn how faculty librarians can work with you to grow students' research skills.

About the Tutorials

  • Each tutorial has auto-graded checks for understanding.
  • Tutorials can be retaken as many times as students would like.
  • Students can download PDF certificates of completion that show their name and score.
  • Though you can pull the tutorials via the hyperlinked titles below, these are all available in the Canvas Commons as assignments. Simply import them and adjust the instructions and grading to fit your course.
  • The library faculty use the tutorial data collected for instruction assessment and planning purposes.
  • The tutorials are categorized into broad topic areas. Visit the tabs below to find the tutorials, time estimates, outcomes, and recommendations for usage.
Tutorial Time Estimate Outcomes How to Use / Additional Information

Virtual Library Orientation

20 minutes
  • identify library locations & hours
  • contact the library faculty for help with research
  • identify major library tools
  • understand the process for checking out Course Reserves
  • check out books & DVDs
  • use / check out Study Rooms
  • log into computers & check out tablets
  • connect to WiFi
  • understand the process for printing & making copies
  • get help with technology
  • access tutorial services

  • Completely revised for 2022
    • Full Los Baños representation
    • Includes tutoring services in LRC & LB
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • Use this tutorial to cover the essential library services & resources in broad terms
  • This tutorial is best for the beginning of the semester.
  • If assigning this in the beginning of the semester, we recommend pairing it with the Using OneSearch Tutorial, which shows students how to log into their library account, find textbooks, etc. The library faculty can create a module that has both assignments, a citation guide, and subject guide in one place.
Tutorial Time Estimate Outcomes How to Use / Additional Information

Developing a Topic & Research Question

Materials are being converted from the more intensive Canvas module.

20 minutes
  • identify resources to explore a topic
  • recognize the value of reference sources
  • recognize the purpose of research
  • narrow a topic into a research question
  • distinguish between good and developing research questions
  • This may be more suitable for ENGL 13 or the midway through ENGL 01A
  • The library faculty have another version of this content as a Canvas module that includes readings, short quizzes, a concept mapping assignment, a KWL chart assignment, and a discussion board in which librarians provide feedback to students regarding their research question.
Tutorial Time Estimate Outcomes How to Use / Additional Information

Recognizing Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources

15 minutes
  • differentiate between primary, secondary, & tertiary sources
  • recognize that format alone doesn't determine whether a source is primary, secondary, or tertiary
  • recognize that what is considered primary, secondary, & tertiary may be different between disciplines
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • While this tutorial may be more relevant for history, we have found that students need some help when determining primary sources between disciplines.
Recognizing Popular, Trade, & Scholarly Articles 20 minutes
  • differentiate between popular, trade, and scholarly articles
  • read scholarly journal articles more efficiently
  • understand how the information cycle determines the kinds of sources available on a topic
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • This tutorial helps students recognize some of the types of sources that they can find in the library's databases. It's important to recognize that the library also subscribes to popular sources from conservative and liberal magazines, etc.
  • It also provides students with information about how to research "new" topics that don't have much scholarly literature.
  • We recommend that students learn about source types before searching in databases.
Finding Peer-Reviewed Science Journal Articles 15 minutes
  • differentiate between popular and scholarly articles
  • read scholarly journal articles more efficiently
  • identify recommended science-related databases
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this tutorial with either the CINAHL Complete or Science Full Text Select tutorials. The library faculty can create a module for you that has multiple assignments in one place--you would just need to add points and the rubrics.
Tutorial Time Estimate Outcomes How to Use / Additional Information
Finding & Selecting Databases 15 minutes
  • recognize how the library provides access to scholarly and other subscription content
  • identify how library databases can help you refine your search for information
  • find databases provided by the Merced College Library
  • select relevant subject databases
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this before the Using Basic Search Strategies and / or one of the specific database tutorials. Providing students with this foundational knowledge empowers their research process as we have 70+ databases; learning to decide where to look is important for information literacy development.
  • We recommend pairing this tutorial with Using Basic Search Strategies and one of the specific database interface tutorials.
  • It may also be beneficial for students to have an understanding of the kinds of materials that can be found in databases as there is a mixture of source types, including magazines from liberal and conservative perspectives.
  • The library faculty can create a module for you that has multiple assignments in one place--you would just need to add  points and the rubrics.
Finding & Selecting Databases Provided by EBSCOhost 15 minutes
  • recognize how the library provides access to scholarly and other subscription content
  • identify how library databases can help you refine your search for information
  • find all of the library's databases provided by the brand EBSCOhost
  • select relevant subject databases
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this before the Using Basic Search Strategies and / or one of the specific database tutorials. Providing students with this foundational knowledge empowers their research process as around 40 of the library's 70+ databases are provided by EBSCOhost; learning to decide where to look is important for information literacy development.
  • We recommend pairing this tutorial with Using Basic Search Strategies and one of the specific database interface tutorials.
  • It may also be beneficial for students to have an understanding of the kinds of materials that can be found in databases as there is a mixture of source types, including magazines from liberal and conservative perspectives.
  • The library faculty can create a module for you that has multiple assignments in one place--you would just need to add  points and the rubrics.
Using Basic Search Strategies 20 minutes
  • identify keywords
  • use quotation marks
  • use words that expand or limit searches
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this tutorial after the Finding & Selecting Databases tutorial and / or before one of the specific database tutorials. The library faculty can create a module for you that has multiple assignments in one place--you would just need to add points and the rubrics.
Finding Career Information 15 minutes
  • identify resources to find career information
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
Using Academic Search Complete 15 minutes
  • access Academic Search Complete
  • find the Advanced Search interface
  • narrow results by source type, publication date, and full-text access
  • scan article titles and abstracts for relevance
  • open PDFs
  • use database tools to save, email, cite, and link articles
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this tutorial after the Finding & Selecting Databases tutorial and the Using Basic Search Strategies tutorial. The library faculty can create a module for you that has multiple assignments in one place--you would just need to add points and the rubrics.

Using CINAHL Complete

15 minutes
  • access CINAHL Complete
  • find the Advanced Search interface
  • narrow results by source type, publication date, and full-text access
  • scan article titles and abstracts for relevance
  • open PDFs
  • use database tools to save, email, cite, and link articles
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this tutorial after the Finding & Selecting Databases tutorial and the Using Basic Search Strategies tutorial. The library faculty can create a module for you that has multiple assignments in one place--you would just need to add points and the rubrics.
Using JSTOR Essential 20 minutes
  • access JSTOR Essential
  • locate the Advanced Search interface
  • enter search terms
  • narrow results by content type, publication date, and subject
  • use database tools to cite, email, download, and save items
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this tutorial after the Finding & Selecting Databases tutorial and the Using Basic Search Strategies tutorial. The library faculty can create a module for you that has multiple assignments in one place--you would just need to add points and the rubrics.

Using OneSearch

 

15 minutes
  • access OneSearch
  • use filters to specify the kind of source you are interested in
  • find locations for physical items, including books and textbooks
  • sign into your OneSearch account to place holds on physical items, such as regular books and DVDs, & renew items
  • find & access full-text articles
  • describe the advantages and disadvantages of using OneSearch vs. a subject-specific database
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • This tutorial pairs well with the Virtual Library Orientation tutorial at the beginning of the semester. The library faculty can create a module for you that has both assignments in one place--you would just need to add  points and the rubrics.
Using Science Full Text Select 15 minutes
  • access Science Full Text Select
  • find the Advanced Search interface
  • narrow results by source type, publication date, and full-text access
  • scan article titles and abstracts for relevance
  • open PDFs
  • use database tools to save, email, cite, and link articles
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this tutorial after the Finding & Selecting Databases tutorial and the Using Basic Search Strategies tutorial. The library faculty can create a module for you that has multiple assignments in one place--you would just need to add points and the rubrics.
Tutorial Time Estimate Outcomes How to Use / Additional Information
Evaluating Information 30 minutes
  • identify common checklist approaches for evaluating information
  • recognize how checklist approaches can fall short when used on their own
  • use Caulfield's techniques for evaluating information
  • use media bias tools
  • identify fact-checking tools
  • articulate components of the PROVEN method
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • Students should know about differences between sources prior to completing this tutorial.
  • Pairs well with an exercise that has students select the "best" source based on circumstance as sources are not necessarily bad or good on their own.The library faculty can work with you to develop a more nuanced exercise relevant to your class content.

Evaluating Health Information

20 minutes
  • evaluate consumer health websites
  • distinguish between original and review articles
  • compare news articles to original sources
  • determine the strength of scientific evidence
  • identify search tools to find health information
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • This tutorial is most useful for nutrition, health, and biology courses in which ENGL 01A is a prerequisite.
  • Students should know what peer-reviewed scholarly articles are prior to completing this tutorial as it takes scholarly research a step further.
Tutorial Time Estimate Outcomes How to Use / Additional Information

Citing & Formatting in MLA (8th ed.)

30 minutes
  • recognize the purposes of citing sources
  • identify the key characteristics of a properly formatted paper in MLA style
  • create in-text citations in MLA style
  • identify the core elements of Works Cited citations in MLA style
  • identify the key characteristics of a properly formatted Works Cited list in MLA style
  • Assignment in Canvas ready to go--just add a rubric!
  • We recommend that students complete this assignment when they are actively citing sources.

Citing & Formatting in MLA (9th ed.)

Available in Spring 2022

     

Citing & Formatting in APA (7th ed.)

Available in Spring 2022

     

More to Offer

We recommend that you work with the library faculty to develop a research component for your course.

The library faculty can work with you to:

  • mix and match and sequence existing tutorials into a Canvas module.
  • remix and tailor tutorials with class-specific examples for those who assign the material for a grade (not extra credit or as a recommended resource)
  • create research assignments, activities, discussion posts, guides, etc.
  • facilitate discussion board assignments and other instructional activities by being embedded in your course