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Online Learning for Information Literacy: Find Sources

A collection of online tutorials, videos, class exercises, and assessments for developing students' information literacy.

Find Sources

Help your students with...

  • Understanding scholarship as a conversation in which meaning is created and debated over time
  • Recognizing how an issue may be represented by multiple perspectives and approaches
  • Recognizing how different sources can be used
  • Developing an advanced keyword and subject search strategy

Class Exercise: Jigsaw Search Tool Comparison

A jigsaw activity is a cooperative learning technique in which students are depend upon each other to learn material. This exercise could be modified to work either in person or asynchronously online. Divide students into small groups and provide each group with a single database or search tool. You can use the library's Databases A–Z page to collect discipline-specific examples.

Ask groups to spend a few minutes searching for information in their assigned tool. They should also use this time to discuss how the tool is structured to support searches for specific materials or kinds of articles. One easy way to do this is to review the advanced search limiters present on the left side of a database results screen.

Bring the whole class back together to discuss the features of each individual search tool and specific ways it might be used to support their research process.


Class Exercise: Following the Conversation

Provide students with an article you've already assigned or discussed so everyone is familiar with its major findings or argument. During class, ask small groups to review the paper's introduction, pick a few articles it cites (3, 5, or more depending on how long you want the activity to take), and record how the paper uses the older findings or arguments to support the work it will eventually do.

Then ask groups to find articles that cite the paper you provided (Google Scholar and many library databases can help with this) and look to see how the more recent articles describe and use the original findings (using ctrl + f or command + f to search for the author(s) will make this easier). Finally, students should make some sort of graphical representation of how the different articles connect and how the ideas in the article you provided were both inspired by what came before and built upon by what came after. 

Video: Cited Reference Searching

Once I've found one article, how do I find other, related articles? How can I trace scholarly ideas over time using reference lists and "cited by" features?

Length: 2 minutes

Created by Musselman Library, Gettysburg College. Unless indicated otherwise, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

How do I use this?: Link directly to the Ensemble video:

Tutorial: Advanced Search Strategies for (Almost) Any Database

How can I perform more efficient keyword searches in library databases? How can I use Boolean operators, phrase searching, and truncation to get better search results?

Length: 5 minutes

Advanced Searching tutorial

Created by Musselman Library, Gettysburg College. Unless indicated otherwise, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

How do I use this?: Add tutorial link in Moodle: This tutorial does not record individual student participation.

Video: One Perfect Source

How can I use different sources to support an argument? How can I use sources as evidence for a claim? If I am looking for one source that fits my topic perfectly, why should I try a different approach?

Length: 2 minutes

Created by NC State University Libraries. This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.

How do I use this?: Link directly to YouTube video:

Video: Variety of Sources

How can incorporating multiple sources help provide a more well-rounded view of a topic? Which voices and perspectives may not be represented as completely in scholarly literature?

Length: 3 minutes

This video was developed by Utah State University Library.

How do I use this?: Link directly to the video on YouTube: