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Research 101

Your starter kit for college-level research at Kennedy Library. Advance your research skills with the self-guided tutorials and videos below.

Request a Workshop

Thank you for your interest in Library Instruction for your GE A1-A3 course! Our library workshops introduce students to library research and information literacy skills at the foundational level. For Fall Quarter 2023, please submit requests by Friday, October 13. To submit a request, fill out the request formYou'll receive a confirmation e-mail within one week with the location and pre-workshop assignment information. If you do not receive an e-mail within one week or have any questions, please feel free to contact Mercedes Rutherford-Patten:

2023-24 Workshop Offerings

Online, Synchronous Research Workshop offered via Zoom (50-minutes)

Pre-Workshop Homework: Library Research Tutorial & Notebook

In the Research Workshop, students learn about Kennedy Library’s services and how to get research help, practice searching strategically in OneSearch (library catalog) and databases, and use criteria to evaluate the credibility and quality of information sources. Students complete an evaluating sources activity that can be forwarded to their instructor as a record of participation in the workshop. Please ask your students to forward their e-mail copies if you want to provide credit for attending. View the Research Workshop presentation slides.

Students are expected to complete the Library Research Tutorial & Notebook homework before attending their workshop. The tutorial introduces library resources, the research process, research ethics, types of information sources, and source evaluation and provides background information for activities that we'll do in the workshop. It is chunked into four parts with mini-lessons and knowledge checks in each part. After students finish the tutorial, they're asked to complete the research notebook activity where they'll practice developing their research topic, a keyword strategy, and conducting effective searches in OneSearch and library databases. We'll continue to explore the research process during the research workshop, by having students complete activities focused on evaluating information for credibility and quality.

We recommend that students have plenty of time to complete this tutorial. In recognizing that students are at different levels of comfortability with college-level research, some may move through this module slower and others more quickly. The goal is to provide students useful introductions, or "bite-sized" lessons, to several information literacy topics that support their research assignments. There are options for additional learning if desired, sprinkled throughout the lessons. At a minimum, students should expect to spend an hour plus working through the module and activity.

Please import that Library Research Tutorial & Notebook into your Canvas course from Canvas Commons. To import the tutorial, search for the title of the Canvas module: “Starting Your Research: Ethics, Information Sources, and Evaluation” in Canvas Commons. Note: It's important that you do not copy the module from a previous course to your new course because you will not get the updated version. 


In-Person, Synchronous Introduction to Data Visualization Workshop (50-minutes)

Pre-Workshop Homework: Finding Data Tutorial and Notebook

In this workshop, students will learn how to find and analyze data sets appropriate for their topic and use tools to turn data into compelling visuals. The Intro to Data Visualization Workshop presentation slides and Finding Data Tutorial and Notebook are available here.


Optional Embedded Librarian in Your Canvas Course

I can engage and connect with students in the your course via the new Canvas Librarian role. In previous courses, I've provided Q&A opportunities via discussion boards, but I'm open to trying new ways to support students as they work on their research! To embed me, Mercedes Rutherford-Patten, into your Canvas course, follow these directions. My e-mail is

Self-Guided Tutorial Offerings

For asynchronous ENGL/COMS courses, we're offering the following self-guided tutorials below.

Library Research Canvas Module

In the Library Research Canvas Module, students learn a variety of foundational information literacy skills that will help them get started with college-level library research. This module is separated into four parts with mini-lessons and knowledge checks.

  • Part 1: Starting Your Research, students learn how to navigate the library catalog (OneSearch), access textbooks, the types of resources available in Special Collections and Archives, and how to get help with their research.
  • Part 2: Research Ethics, students learn about the common types of bias in research and ethos (trustworthiness) as it relates to researching and writing.
  • Part 3: Evaluate Research Sources, students learn evaluation criteria that they can use to judge the credibility, quality, and relevance of information sources.
  • Part 4: Understand Information Sources, students learn about different types of information sources and the peer-review process.

After students finish the module, they complete a Research Notebook guided worksheet where they practice developing their research topic, a keyword strategy, and conducting effective searches in OneSearch and library databases. 

Make sure you are signed into your Cal Poly Canvas account. If this link doesn't work, go to the Canvas Commons from within your Cal Poly Canvas portal and search for the title of the module "Starting Your Research: Ethics, Information Sources, and Evaluation".

Finding Data Tutorial and Notebook

In this self-guided tutorial, students learn search strategies for finding data and visualizations.

Students can visit the Introduction to Data Visualization research guide for more help or book an appointment with a peer instructor to get help with their project.

Finding, Using and Citing Images Tutorial

In the Finding, Using & Citing Images self-guided tutorial, students learn how to find the best images for their topic, analyze images for effectiveness and credibility, and are introduced to MLA and attribution citation styles for images. This tutorial takes approximately 30 minutes and includes knowledge check questions to check for understanding of the content.

For Students

For Instructors - Import the Tutorial to Your Canvas Course