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Information Literacy 101

Guide Information   
Last Updated:    Apr 14, 2014   
Guide URL:   
Description:   A research tutorial for UK 101/201 students and other beginning researchers.    
Tags:   21st century skills, critical thinking skills, lifelong learning, research skills, uk 101   
RSS:   Subscribe to Updates via RSS   

Guide Index
Getting Started
1. Develop Your Topic
2. Search Strategies
3. Find Credible Sources
Find Background Information
Find Books
4. Popular and Scholarly Sources
5. Evaluating Sources

Getting Started

What Is Information Literacy?

How do you find the information you need for a research assignment, for work, or for life? 

Information literacy may be referred to as inquiry, critical thinking skills, research skills, or lifelong learning. 
Learning where to look and how to find the information you need is a key component of information literacy.

Find more Course Guides created for individual courses.


Not finding what you want? Don't get frustrated. Ask a librarian! Ask-a-Librarian

What Is the Research Process?

The research process is a series of steps. Most often you complete one step before moving onto the next. However, there may be times when you will need to return to a previous step or complete multiple steps simultaneously.

Step 1. Develop Your Topic   Developing a good research question can sometimes be the most difficult part of the research process. Watch Developing a Topic.

Step 2. Search Strategies  What is a search term? Brainstorm for ideas. Watch Generating Search Terms.

Step 3. Find Credible Sources  Learn why library research databases are your best choice for college level research. Watch What Is a Library Database?

Step 4
. Popular and Scholarly Sources  Learn the difference between Popular and Scholarly Articles. Watch Popular and Scholarly Sources.

Step 5. Evaluating Sources  How can you tell if a source is reliable and appropriate for your assignment? Watch Evaluating Internet Sources.

1. Develop Your Topic

Developing a Topic

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2. Search Strategies

Identifying Keywords

Before you can begin searching for information in a print or online resource, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be found easily by scanning:

  • Your initial research questions,
  • Encyclopedia and other articles used when conducting background research,
  • Bibliographies found at the end of books and articles.

If you are still struggling, then try these suggestions:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms.
  • Find pictures related to your topic, then describe the picture.
  • Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend.
Generating Search Terms

Video used with permission from Cooperative Library Instruction Project under Creative Commons license cc-by-nc-sa.

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3. Find Credible Sources

Choosing a Database

The UK Libraries catalog and article databases provide you with 24-7 access to thousands of books, magazine, newspaper, and scholary journal articles.  Locate books owned by UK and by Libraries worldwide.

What Is a Library Database?

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Find Background Information

Purpose of Background Research

Once you have identified some key terminology, the next step is to find background information on your topic. Background research serves many purposes.

  • If you are unfamiliar with the topic, it provides a good overview of the subject matter.
  • It helps you to identify important facts related to your topic: terminology, dates, events, history, and names or organizations.
  • It can help you refine your topic.
  • Background research might lead you to bibliographies that you can use to find additional sources of information on your topic.
Find Background Info Here!

Find Books

Use InfoKat to Find Books and More

The UK Libraries arranges books by Library of Congress (LC) call number so that materials on similar subjects are shelved together. See diagram in LC Call Numbers Explained.

Listed below are only a few of the thousands of subjects you can explore in InfoKat or WorldCat Local.

Clothing trade
Consumer behavior
Labor market-Developing countries

Check the Young Library stacks map to determine the floor and wing for each call number.
If a book is located in another campus library, be sure to note the library location and call number.
Check the map of the libraries' locations and the hours for each library.
    LC Call Numbers Explained

    Call Number Explained

    4. Popular and Scholarly Sources

    Look for Scholarly Articles Here

    Sample search terms for databases

    globalization and "child labor"
    globalization and "clothing industry"
    Nike Inc.
    Polo Ralph Lauren

    Academic Search Premier
    Limit Your Results
    How to Get Text

    When you see the Get Text button, click on it to see a menu page which will show you where you can find the full-text of the article.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Get Text

    Popular and Scholarly Sources

    Video used with permission from Cooperative Library Instruction Project under Creative Commons license cc-by-nc-sa.

    No Flash plugin installed.

    5. Evaluating Sources

    Evaluate Your Sources

    Knowing how to find relevant, reliable, and accurate, information can help you make informed decisions about things like graduate school, a new car purchase, financial aid options and more.
    Use the criteria below to evaluate the information you find on websites and other sources. 

    Author shows evidence of a high level of expertise
    Website has a strong affiliation with a credible organization

    Information on this site is well documented
    Additional research supports the information on this site.
    The site displays correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

    Website is strongly related to my topic.
    Website offers comprehensive coverage of the topic.

    The information on this site is current.
    The website has been updated recently.

    The purpose, intent and audience of the site is clearly stated.
    On this site, facts are presented as facts and opinions are presented as opinions.

    The site is well organized and easy to navigate.
    The links, images, and other media on this site are present and working.

    Adapted from A Practical Guide to Information Literacy Assessment for Academic Librarians by  Carolyn J. Radcliff, et al. Westport, CT. Libraries Unlimited, 2007.

    Evaluating Internet Sources

    Video used with permission from Cooperative Library Instruction Project under Creative Commons license cc-by-nc-sa.

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