Researching Colleges Assignment Management

Check first to see what tutorials may be available from the student's own institution.  When using tutorials from other institutions, be sure that students know they cannot use the other institution's databases.  Many students like the information;  some become confused by materials from other institutions, so an introduction is key.


Understanding Assignments


This video, from the University of North Carolina's Writing Center gives excellent advice for students struggling to understand their assignments.  Also available is a non-video handout:





Citing Electronic Resources in Business

Jim Vileta, Business Librarian at the University of Minnesota, provides examples of APA citations for all major business resources and types of information.  Part of a much larger Business Research Launch Pad.  While the links are mostly to UMN resources, other students may also find some of the information useful.


How to Read a Case Study

From Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, a one page, step by step guide on how to read and analyze a case study.


SWOT Analysis  

A comprehensive guide to researching an writing a SWOT analysis from The Community Tool Box,  a service of the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas.


Writing an Article Analysis [Business]

How to read and analyze an article for a business or management class.  From Grand Valley State University, Michigan.


See alsoBusiness, Companies and Financeas well as individual library databases and guides.



Empirical and Primary Research:  Science & Social Science


Empirical Research Tutorial

Mississippi State's library presents a good overview of what an empirical article is and how to find and identify one.  This includes step by step screen shots for searching in the database PsycINFO.  Students do need to be directed to their own library's resources after they read this page. 


Anatomy of a Research Article

This interactive page from North Carolina State University shows and explains each section of a research article.  Especially helpful for students having trouble identifying research or peer reviewed journal articles.


Sampling in Market Research

This is from an agriculture management textbook, Crawford, I. M. (1990), Marketing Research, Centre and Network for Agricultural Marketing Training in Eastern and Southern Africa, Harare, pp 36-48. It gives examples of all the possible statistical sampling methods, with the appropriate formulas. 



Nursing and Evidence Based Medicine


What is PICOT?

This Library Guide from the Lansing Community College Library has a comprehensive explanation of the PICOT process for evidence based research practice.  Includes a printable document and links to other web pages.  Students need to be cautioned to do the actual research in their own library's databases, but all the other tabs have valuable information.


Medical Subject Headings

The U.S. National Library of Medicine provides links to the subject headings used in Medline, PubMed and other publications.  This can help with finding topics and keywords for many medicine based questions.


Strategies for Finding Empirical Research:  Health Sciences.

All the links are to restricted University of Washington resources, but this guide gives a comprehensive overview of search strategies to find qualitative research in the heath sciences, including providing search terms and search strategies for all the major health databases, including PubMed. 


How to Find Articles Written by a Nurse using CINAHL

Part of a Library Guide on Nursing research from Northeastern University, this page gives step by step instructions and suggestions.


CINAHL Basic Searching Tutorial

From EBSCO, this tutorial provides searching strategy for the CINAHL database.





Primary Source Documents:  History


Primary vs Secondary Documents

A very clear chart of what constitutes a Primary and a Secondary document in each of several academic disciplines.  The page also includes a list of web sites that have primary source documents.  From the Borough of Manhattan Community College library.   


Using Primary Documents on the Web 

The American Library Association's Reference and User Services Association provides a comprehensive guide to understanding, finding and using Primary Source Documents, with an emphasis on U.S. materials.


Documenting the American South

"Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes sixteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.

The University Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sponsors Documenting the American South, and the texts and materials come primarily from its southern holdings. The UNC University Library is committed to the long-term availability of these collections and their online records. An editorial board guides development of this digital library."


Library of Congress (United States)

Use this search page to find the libraries multiple collections on a variety of sources, including documents and multimedia presentations.  The collections of primary sources put together for teachers, found at can be particularly helpful for subjects they cover.


Civil Rights Digital Library

Covering the period 1954-1968, this collection of articles about the Civil Rights movement in the United States includes a variety of written and spoken primary documents.


Encyclopedia of Chicago

A project of the Chicago History Museum, Northwestern University, and the Newberry Library, this encyclopedia includes articles, maps, and primary source documents. There is an index to special features and a user's guide.  There are a number of historical maps, as well as documents and pictures.


The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Includes primary sources, reference sources, museum exhibitions and videos.  The collections are searchable. 


Internet History Sourcebooks

Links to a large number of primary source documents, arranged by country and historical period. 


AP Archive on YouTube

Film clips from AP archives and British Movietone News. 

"The YouTube channels will include more than 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day. For example, viewers can see video from the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, exclusive footage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Marilyn Monroe captured on film in London in the 1950s and Twiggy modeling the fashions of the 1960s."   Search AP Archive AND and event or keyword to get a list of videos.  Also includes playlists. Note that the videos play automatically, with sound.


American Presidency Project

A searchable archive of Presidential papers, including speeches and data on elections. 


U.S. Presidential Libraries

A list of the currently existing Presidential Libraries, with links to the official web sites.


UN Documentation: Overview

A research guide from the Dag Hammarskjoud Library at the United Nations, with quick links to full text and information on which documents are available.


The Vinkhuijzen collection of military uniforms

Part of the NYPL's digital collections, this source is searchable by time and place. 


American Archive of Public Media

Audio and Video from public broadcasting radio and television stations.  Searching and browsing options.  Excellent source for primary sources for history in the twentieth and twentieth first centuries or for people looking for speeches or popular culture information.  "We are a collaboration between WGBH and the Library of Congress with a long-term vision to preserve and make accessible significant historical content created by public media, and to coordinate a national effort to save at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity." (web site accessed 3/9/2017)


Digital Collections:  Harvard University Libraries

The Harvard University Libraries have digitized and provided access to a wide variety of historical materials, mostly text and photographs.  There are many different collections, including American, Chinese, and Iranian history, and historical maps.  The main page lists the various collections, and individual collections are searchable. 




See also Specialized Encyclopedias inAlmanacs, Encyclopedias and Fact Files





Writing Guide: Informative Speech

From the Colorado State University Writing Center, this guide gives a comprehensive, step by step guide to understanding and writing an informative speech. 


Rhetorical Analysis

"Rhetoric is the study of how writers and speakers use words to influence an audience. A rhetorical analysis is an essay that breaks a work of non-fiction into parts and then explains how the parts work together to create a certain effect—whether to persuade, entertain or inform.  You can also conduct a rhetorical analysis of a primarily visual argument such as a cartoon or advertisement, or an oral performance such as a speech."  The detailed description of how to analyze rhetoric and the different types of techniques will also be helpful for those writing arguments and speeches. 



Research and Study Skills



Taking Notes

How to provides links to a wide variety of note taking strategies and forms, including the Cornell note taking method. 


Scholarly v Popular Publications

This chart gives a clear picture of what the different types of periodical sources, to help students understand what they mean by peer reviewed and scholarly materials.  From Hunter College at Western Carolina University, based on charts from many libraries.


Evaluating Scholarly Books & Articles

Step by step guide to evaluating scholarly writing, both books and articles.   This guide from Iowa State's e-Library will help students who ask if books can be scholarly, as well as those needing more information about both evaluation and peer review.


What Is A Peer Reviewed Article?

John Jay College Library provides a comprehensive description of peer-reviewed articles, both what they are and how to find them.  It includes videos as well, and is not linked to their databases, so it should be easy for other students to use as well. 


Evaluating Resources

This guide, from the University of California at Berkeley Library, talks about evaluation criteria for both print and electronic resources.  It does include links to materials in the library, both print and electronic, but many of the sources mentioned will be available at other academic libraries.  Provides links to several additional pages on web site evaluation.


Evaluating Web Sites:  Questions to Consider

Simple list of criteria for web site evaluation from the Cornell University Library.    


Information Literacy:  Glossary of Terms.

A list of commonly used terms in libraries and research.   


Reading an Article in EBSCOhost

This video shows how to work with the results list, and how each of the features work once you have selected an article from the results list in any EBSCO database.  Extremely helpful for students who have not worked with databases before.  The video requires flash player.


CrossRef: DOI

This page allows you to look up the Document Object Identifier (DOI) number for journal articles for inclusion in APA citations.  They offer more information in the pdf file:DOIs, The Library and the Researcher.''


Primary v Secondary Sources

The Indiana University Library explains primary sources in a wide variety of disciplines, with examples.  It also has examples for searching for primary source documents in their catalog.  Those searches might be a useful starting point in the catalog or other resources at your library.  



Computer Searching -- Boolean Logic AND Advanced Search



Searching Effectively

A video tutorial from Colorado State University, explaining how to use the Boolean Operators AND, OR, and NOT to create effective searches in databases and library catalogs.


Basic Search Tips and Advanced Boolean Explained

From the MIT Libraries, a simple description of each search term with strategy suggestions.  Click on the other tabs for more search tips.



For Citation creation, management, and styles:  Citations and Referencing


How to Avoid Plagiarism

Why academic integrity is important, and how students can avoid the most common types of plagiarism.


How to Avoid Plagiarism: An Introduction

This page features an interactive tutorial which gives a lot of examples of how to avoid plagiarism and give proper credit. 


Annotated Bibliography:  Types of Annotations

A section of the Writer's Handbook from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, this page gives examples of different types of annotations in annotated bibliographies.


Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Tips on how to write an annotated bibliography, including an example of an MLA annotated bibliography.  From the writing center at Southern Illinois University.


APA Literature Review with notes

A psychology literature review with notes and suggestions from the Purdue Online Writing Lab. 


Proofreading and Revising a Paper

This printable handout from the Purdue Online Writing Lab gives a comprehensive of how to proofread and revise a paper for clarity and correctness. Additional information and links are available at


Guide to Grammar and Writing

Using drop down menus for word & sentence level, paragraph level, and research paper level information, this is a go to guide for a lot of different writing and editing issues as well as for students studying English grammar.  The clear, step by step directions are especially helpful for students without a lot of writing experience.  Published by the Capital Community College Foundation of Hartford, CT. 


Grammar and Usage Guides

A great list of web sites on Grammar and Usage from the Writing Program at the University of Chicago.  Explains the different types of guides available -- and provides a link to the Schoolhouse Rock lyrics, for those of you who learned your grammar at "conjunction junction."


How to Write a Title

A series of exercises to help you write a good title, as well as a nice description of what a title is and what it does.  From the University of Minnesota writing center.


Using Signal Phrases

How to introduce quotation and paraphrases in a research paper, using either in MLA or APA style papers. 


301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Written by the New York Times for a High School Writing contest, these prompts are organized into subject areas.  A good source for students looking for current topics. 


Writing Transitions

Types and examples of transitions. 



APA Lite for College Papers

A guide to all the sections of paper formatting in APA style, including a sample paper.


AMA Formatting for a Paper

A sample paper for those using American Medical Association Style


MLA Sample Paper

An annotated sample paper to show you everything you need to know about formatting a paper in MLA style.


APA Sample Paper

An annotated sample paper to show you everything you need to know about formatting a paper in APA style.



Survey Research and Design


Instrument Design and Development

 From Duke University's Initiative on Survey Methodology this site provides information on survey design and an extensive bibliography.  Use the left hand menu for additional information on conducting successful survey research.


Citation Analysis and Journal Impact


Look to see if the library has the databases  Scopus, or Web of Science,  On the open internet, use  Google Scholar and Google Scholar Metrics.

Many academic libraries also have information for faculty and graduate students on publishing and sources, so search for those as well.  All of these guides have links to the school's databases, but the information on how to search should be useful.


Altmetrics: Tools

The Pollak library at California State University, Fullerton, provides information about almetrics and what the differences are among the different styles of analyzing citations.


Citation Analysis

The University of Michigan library gives a detailed guide to searching in Web of Science, as will as information on the H-index, almetrics, and terms & definitions.



Oral History and Filmmaking


Oral History Interview Guide

A comprehensive guide to doing and recording Oral History Interviews from the Smithsonian Museums. 


For Filmmakers:  Documentary Resources from POV

A collection of resources for documentary filmmakers from the PBS series POV:  Point of View.



Citations and Referencing

Link to the page for citation styles, management, and referencing styles.


6/24/2015 AAH

links added 9/29/2015 AAH

links added 12/23/2015 AAH

links added 1/22/2016 AAH

links checked and updated 8/30/2016 AAH

link added 1/30/2017 AAH

links added (nursing) 10/4/2017 AAH





Plan your time

Expect to spend roughly 15 to 20 hours on a 1000 to 2000 word assignment. This time is usually best spent over a few weeks.

It is often wise to work on more than one assignment at a time.

It is common for students to spend all their time on the first assignment that is due, and as the semester goes on to find that there is less time available to spend on assignments that are due later.  If later assignments are worth more marks or require more work than earlier ones, you may find that you do not have enough time to do justice to these assignments. Thus, your marks may be more of a reflection of your time management than your ability. 

Manage your assignments

  • Put aside some time each week to work on assignments for each subject.
  • Assign yourself a small part of the assignment writing process each week.
  • Use a semester planner
    • Write in the weeks of the semester and the courses that you are doing.
    • Assign parts of the writing task to each subject each week.

Think about all the steps that will be involved in completing the task.  The steps in the assignment writing process will be sufficient for some assignments, but for tasks that involve group work or making a PowerPoint, for example, you will need to make time for meetings or making slides and rehearsing your presentation.

Here is an example of how you might manage your assignment load:



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