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Research Skills for College Students

Course Code: LIBR 1111
Credits: 1.5
Semester: weeks 7-14 of the Fall semester
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course provides an overview of the information literacy and research skills required to succeed in college and university. Through lectures, hands-on labs and other methods students learn how to identify, locate, evaluate, and cite useful research material within and beyond the Douglas College Library system. Emphasis is on the effective use of the Library’s print and electronic resources, including library catalogues, periodical index databases, and the Web. Most importantly, students learn how to develop effective and efficient strategies for conducting college-level term paper research.

Course Content

  1. Course Overview and Introduction
    1. Student goals and objectives
    2. Computer basics
    3. Pre-test
    4. What is information?
  2. Using Libraries (Why bricks and mortar still matter)
    1. Libraries and their clientele (when to use academic, public, special libraries )
    2. General overview of library services (circulation, reference, serials, audio/visual, Internet and remote access)
    3. Tour of the Douglas College Library
  3. Developing a Plan
    1. Recognizing when information is needed (how to pick a topic)
    2. Deciding where to start (what kind of information is needed – scholarly/popular; current/historic; primary/secondary, etc.)
    3. Deciding where to look (what search tools to use)
    4. Creating a research template
  4. Basic Search Methods
    1. How information is organized for retrieval – introducing the concepts of classification and indexing
    2. Controlled vocabulary searching
    3. Keyword/free text searching
    4. Boolean searching
    5. Selecting search terms and strategies
    6. Other ways to find information
  5. Searching Library Catalogues
    1. How library catalogues work
    2. What library catalogues contain
    3. Basic and advanced searching of the DC Library Catalogue
    4. Interpreting Library of Congress Call Numbers
    5.  Searching other library catalogues
  6. Finding and Using Information in Books
    1. Using the table of contents, index, preface, etc. to locate information
    2. Finding information in general reference books (encyclopedias, atlases, almanacs, etc.)
    3. Finding information in specialized reference books (introduction to biographical, statistical, legal and medical reference books)
    4. Selecting and evaluating information published in books
    5. Citing information found in books
  7. Searching Periodical Indexes
    1. Purpose and history of periodical indexes
    2. Types of periodical index databases
    3. Basic and advanced searching of a selection of Douglas College Library periodical index databases
  8. Finding and Using Information in Periodical Articles
    1. Selecting and evaluating information found in periodicals and newspapers
    2. Citing information found in print and online periodicals and newspapersSearching for Information on the Web
    1. Overview of Internet – how it works and basic terminology
    2. Types of information resources on the Web
    3. Web search strategies and tools (subject directories, keyword search engines, metasearch engines)
  9. Finding and Using Information From the Web
    1. Selecting and evaluating information found on websites
    2. Citing information found on websites
  10. Specialized Reference Databases and Websites
    1. An introduction to the information sources found on the Douglas College Library’s Resources by Subject and Electronic Reference web pages

Methods of Instruction

Lectures, labs, group discussions (face-to-face on online), field trips

Lectures, labs, group discussions (face-to-face or online) of required readings, field trips

Means of Assessment

Students are evaluated based on attendance, homework assignments, in-class labs, participation in group discussions, and completion of a final project.

Attendance: 10%

Participation in Discussions: 10%

Homework Assignments: 20%

In-class Labs: 20%

Final Project: 40%

Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  1. Describe the information services available via the Douglas College Library
  2. Compare and contrast different search methodologies and develop appropriate search strategies
  3. Locate appropriate and useful information in a variety of formats and from a variety of print and electronic sources
  4. Evaluate the reliability and suitability of information obtained
  5. Document retrieved information in an academically acceptable format

course prerequisites

Basic computer skills.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.