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The Research Process

Not sure how to do research for your essay or assignment? Follow these general steps to help you develop your topic and find resources. Click on the ‘step’ text highlighted in blue for a video and infographic with more information.

Step 1: Read assignment outline carefully & know what kinds of resources you need to find.
Step 2: Do some background reading on your topic, so you know what your topic is about. Use textbooks, the internet, or the library search page to find contextual information. You may need to narrow your topic at this point.
Step 3: Make a list of keywords that relate to your topic
Step 4: Go to the library website, and type in your search terms.
Step 5: Make sure you know how to limit your results, so that you see which articles will be the most useful for your topic.


Research Guides

Research and topic guides are lists of resources compiled by Alexander College’s librarians to help students find information that is relevant to the assignments with links and suggestions for starting off points for research such as books, databases, Open Access textbooks, and more.


How-to Guides

The following guides are to assist you with understanding some of the different services the library offers, for more information please contact either campuses librarian.


How to get Research Help

New to research? Looking to chat with a research expert to find the sources you need for your assignment? Why not book a 1-1 research appointment with a library staff member? In these appointments, library staff will teach students how to do research independently. Please note: staff will not choose topics nor recommend articles to students. Staff can review your topic, help you develop keywords and search strategies, and teach you how to check if a source is academic. Appointments are 30min and in Winter 2022 can be booked for in-person or virtual via Zoom. Login to your WCOnline account and select schedule 08. IN PERSON or 09. ONLINE Library Research Help and choose a date/time that works for you! Remember to book early so you have enough time to complete your assignment! Still not sure? Here are what some past students had to say about the service:

“As it was my first semester i was bit confused that how to do library research worksheet but after this appointment … all doubts are clear.”
“In my first appointment she taught me how to find the scholarly articles and I passed my Research assignment.”
“Everything was good as I successfully passed the library research assignment.The charming nature of professor really fascinated me and increased my curiousity to make more future appointments”

Students can also get research help via AskAway online chat (see link in ‘Ask a Librarian’ box at the top of this webpage). Phone and email are additional ways of getting in contact with us, however, if questions are complex our staff may ask you to book a 1-1 appointment instead.


Library Research 101 Canvas Course

Starting Fall 2021, the AC Library is proud to share the new Research 101 Canvas Course! This self-study course (students self-enrol) is designed to help students learn how to do their research independently. Throughout 7 modules, users will read about the theory and practical applications of how to conduct library research and practice their skills using a topic of their choice. Each concept is reinforced with activities so that users are given the opportunity to practice what they have learned. Upon completion, students are encouraged to book a 1-1 library research appointment to review the sources they have found and clairify any questions. A combination of readings, videos, and excercises, this course should take approximately 2-3 hours for students to complete (if they are new to research).
Click here to enrol in Library Research 101!


Research Activity Worksheets

Don’t have time to complete the entire Research 101 course? Below are some activity sheets you can use when learning how to do research. Follow the research steps as outlined at the top of this page (in the Research Process section) and use these worksheets to learn the skills. If you have questions, please contact the Library. AC Faculty are also welcome to use these worksheets in their classes!



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