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Library research tutorials and guides

This page collects tutorials and guides to help you during your research process. The focus is on resources created by the SFU Library, for the SFU community. 

Introduction to research

Library Research Skills series

 Library Research Skills (1) [interactive tutorial, via Canvas]
This tutorial takes you from understanding your assignment and narrowing your topic to finding background sources and scholarly books and articles. No log-in required.

Beyond the Basics: Library Research Skills Tutorial (2) [interactive tutorial, via Canvas]
Builds on the skills covered in Library Research Skills. May be of particular interest to humanities and social science students working on literature reviews and upper-level research assignments. No log-in required. 

For more information, see Instructional services: Information literacy & research skills.

Start your research here: an overview of the research process [guide]
A quick five-step overview of how to do library research, from selecting a topic to citing your sources.

Research concepts worksheet [PDF]
Want to brainstorm research concepts and search terms with pen and paper? This printable worksheet can get you started. 

Evaluating sources

How do you know if a source can be trusted? Try these strategies:

Evaluating sources [part of Finding and evaluating resources on the web]
Quick tips and basic questions to ask about any resource you're considering.

Information evaluation: The CRAAP Test 
An updated (2018) take on the widely-adopted CRAAP test for assessing the reliability of a resource. (From Duquesne University.)

    Search strategies by format or source

    Finding books and media

    SFU Library Catalogue search guide [guide]
    How to find books, journal articles, and other resources in the Library's physical and online collections. 

    Finding materials by format + type [guide]
    Looking for articles, books, or specialised materials or resources (like grey literature, annotated bibliographies, maps, or  statistics)? Start here!

    Finding and using online images [guide]
    Tips for finding, using, and citing images, from the Library's digital collections and beyond. Includes copyright information.

    Finding journal articles

     How to find journal articles [guide]
    Whether you're exploring topics, already have a citation, wondering which database to search, or fine-tuning your search strategies, start here.

    What is a journal article? [guide]
    A quick introduction to academic journals: what they look like and the elements you need to know. (Includes sample pages.)

    What is a scholarly journal? [guide]
    How do you know if a journal is "scholarly" or "academic" -- or a trade journal, or popular magazine? This guide will help you tell the difference. (Includes examples.)

    Finding articles: Advanced search techniques [video]
    This three-minute video introduces some advanced search techniques, demonstrated in Academic Search Premier. 

    Moving from citation to article: Find the full text of an article from the article citation [guide]
    Have a citation? Here's how to get the full article (or book, etc.). (Includes a link to Citation finder, which allows you find find your article or book by title, ISBN, DOI, and more.)

    Finding other sources

    Finding topics with an issue for effective persuasive writing [video].
    Created by SFU students, in collaboration with SIAT and the SFU Library. (2015, approx. 8:40)

    Finding Canadian statistics using CANSIM [video] 
    A four-minute video  (with PDF notes).

    Finding primary sources [guide]
    Guide to finding primary source documents for the Humanities. 

    Evaluating primary sources [guide]
    Tips from the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

    Advanced  search techniques

    Advanced search techniques (guide)
    From the University of London: tips for Boolean searching, narrowing and broadening searches, proximity searching, truncation, and using wild cards. 

    Search tips for Google, Google Scholar, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines
    Basic and advanced search strategies.

    Google power searching [online course by Google]
    Advanced techniques for using Google for research purposes.

    Advanced search techniques for specific disciplines and Library databases 

    Check our Research guides by subject and course for tips from our subject expert librarians. 

    Intellectual property: Avoiding plagiarism, understanding copyright and scholarly publishing 

    Understanding and avoiding plagiarism [interactive tutorial]
    Interactive tutorial in Canvas, focused on understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

    Comprendre et éviter le plagiat [interactive tutorial]
    Interactive tutorial in French in Canvas, focused on understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

    What is plagiarism? [guide]
    Guide to common forms of plagiarism and how to avoid them.

    Copyright for SFU students [interactive tutorial]
    Interactive tutorial in Canvas, focused on understanging Canadian copyright laws in the University context.

    Scholarly Publishing
    Interactive tutorial in Canvas, focused on understanding the scholarly publishing cycle and publishing options for academic researchers.

    Specialised software 

    Citation management software [guide]
    A guide to different software options for managing citations and keeping track of references while doing research.

    NVivo [guide]
    Introduction to NVivo, a powerful software used to help organize and analyze research data.

    SPSS [guide]
    Start here for tutorials and guides for this software package used for statistical analysis (also known as IBM SPSS Statistics),  and available on computers in SFU labs.