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COL 102: The College Experience - Information Literacy Module  

An aid to understanding and using resources in the COL 102 Information Literacy Research Project
Last Updated: Aug 5, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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About the Information Literacy Module

Information literacy includes the ability to find, evaluate, cite, and use information in a variety of formats.  These skills are important for completing college-level academic work as well as processing information in everyday life. 

The Information Literacy Research Project for COL 102 gives you an opportunity to sample some of the PCCC Library resources by following a guided search for information.  These steps may be used as a process for developing a strategy for finding information as you proceed with your college research assignments.

We encourage you to refer to the tutorials provided here as you proceed.  The Librarians at PCCC are also available to assist you with your research.  They can be found at the Reference desk of the Library on your campus.


Online Library Resources

The PCCC Library Web site is your starting place and will lead you to a variety of types and sources of information.  It is your “anchor” and you will be referring to it many times.  The library subscribes to a number of online resources, such as databases and encyclopedias.  A database is an organized, searchable collection of electronic information.  The library’s online resources differ from the “free Web” in that they have gone through the publication process, making them reliable and authoritative.  The library’s resources are also geared toward college students, making them appropriate for the types of assignments you will be doing.

To access library resources from off-campus, log in to your PCCC Account, click on Academics, then Online Databases to view a list of links along with the usernames and passwords required for off-campus access.

Evaluation Criteria

When you search for information, you don’t need to settle for the first search result(s).  You should browse and/or narrow down the results and choose the books or articles that best suit your needs.  Below are some of the criteria for evaluating sources:

  1. Relevance: How does this source relate to your topic?  Does this source cover your topic with enough depth? 
  2. Authority (Author’s credentials): Who is the author or publisher or sponsor?  How is the author (or publisher or sponsor) qualified to write on this topic?
  3. Purpose: Is the purpose of the source to educate, inform, entertain, sell or persuade?  Do the authors make their purpose clear?  If there is bias (that is, if it is one-sided) do they provide evidence for their point of view? 
  4. Currency (Publication date): When was this source published or posted?  Does your topic require the latest news?  Are older sources still relevant?
  • MORE INFO: Purdue OWL Evaluating Sources
    Want to know more about evaluating information or where these criteria come from? Purdue OWL's overview about the importance of sifting through lots of information to get to the best information is brief and easy to read. Take a look at "Evaluation During Reading" (in the menu on the left) for more questions to ask as you evaluate a resource.

Critical Thinking in the Research Process

Critical thinking includes the search for evidence, evaluation of sources, as well as an accurate interpretation of that evidence.  It also includes the identification of relevant arguments including counter arguments, and the ability to refute those counter arguments.  Finally, it includes the ability to draw justified conclusions based on appropriate interpretations of evidence.  If you have demonstrated these things, you have effectively conducted the research process, and have demonstrated outstanding critical thinking and information literacy skills!

Identifying Keywords


Information Literacy Research Project

Goal: To help students increase their familiarity with selected Library resources, and reinforce fundamental information literacy competencies.

Project Objectives - At the end of the project students will be able to:

  • Retrieve information via the library’s online resources which might help to answer/support a research question
  • Use the Library’s Online Catalog to locate a book
  • Evaluate the selected online resources and book in terms of how they answer/support the research question
  • Use information from the selected resources to help answer the research question
  • Cite the resources using an appropriate style

Video Instructions for Information Literacy Research Project

View these short videos for help with the Information Literacy Research Project.  With the exception of the Introduction/Overview, each video corresponds directly to a page or section of the Project.

Citations and Plagiarism

When you find an article or book that is useful, you can look for information that specifically addresses your topic or answers your research questions.  When you use information from a resource, you may quote it directly or paraphrase the information (put it in your own words). Either way, you must cite your sources or you will be guilty of plagiarism.  Luckily, many of our online resources have built-in citation tools.  You may also try the resources linked below for help with citation.

  • Citing Your Sources
    This guide contains information on citation best practices, brief citation guides for both MLA and APA styles, and a brief video on citation.
  • EasyBib Citation Generator
    EasyBib is a citation generator - that means you enter the information about a source, such as the author, title, publisher, publication date, and EasyBib will create the formatted citation for you.
  • Purdue OWL MLA Guide
    This guide will help you create correct MLA citations by showing examples of different types of resources. Use the menu on the left to see examples based on resource type (Books, Periodicals, Electronic, etc.).
  • "You Quote It, You Note It!"
    Tutorial on quoting, paraphrasing, and plagiarism from Acadia University.

Finding Books & Identifying the Call Number


Evaluating Your Sources

Think you know what the Evaluation Criteria means?  Take a look at the below link - you will see the catalog record for two different books or articles on one subject.  Which would you choose?


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