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Welcome to the Research Skills Tutorial. This tutorial teaches you how to find and use sources for your research assignments.
Use the tabs at the top of the page to visit different pages.
Columbia College Library Hours (Semester Break)
Monday - Thursday
8:30 am - 7 pm
Friday - Saturday
8:30 am - 5 pm
Sundays & Statutory Holidays
604-683-8360 ext. 253
Ask a question by email or make an appointment to talk to a librarian on teams.
Need research help?
Need to find sources for your assignment but not sure where to start? Found a few sources, but need to find specific information? Having trouble determining whether the sources you are using are credible?
Ask a Librarian!
Canadian Points of View Reference Centre This link opens in a new window
A great starting point for your research. Provides topic overviews and access to newspaper, magazine and academic journal articles.
JSTOR This link opens in a new window
Access scholarly journals and primary sources on a range of subjects.
MAS Ultra This link opens in a new window
Access magazine and newspaper articles, biographies, encyclopedia entries and academic journal articles.
+ Q: How do I find articles on the library's website?
There are a few ways to find articles from the library's website.
To search all article databases at once:
1. Go to the
2. Scroll down until you see the search bar
3. Enter keywords related to your topic & hit search
To search in a specific database:
1. Go to the
2. Click on "Find Materials"
3. Click on "All Databases (A-Z)"
4. Select a database from the list
5. Search the database using keywords or short phrases. Watch the video below for more tips on searching Academic Search Complete.
+ Q: How do I find books on the library website?
1. Go to the
2. Scroll down and click on Find Materials
3. Click on Find Books and eBooks.
4. Enter keywords related to your topic or the title of a book & hit search.
5. Use the options on the left-hand side to limit to books (which will only include print books) or eBooks.
+ Q: What is a "scholarly" or "academic" source?
The words scholarly and academic are often used interchangeably. Academic sources:
Are written by academics who are considered experts on a topic
Intended for other experts to read
Based on original research
Provide citations for all sources used
Are usually peer-reviewed by other experts on the topic before being published
To learn more, check out the
Find Articles page on this tutorial.
+ Q: How can I tell if a book is a scholarly source?
Look for these clues:
References provided at the end of chapters or the end of the book
References used are academic sources. Look to see that journals and books are cited rather than popular websites and magazines.
Uses language that is specific to the discipline. Does it appear that the authors intended their work to be read by other experts? If so, it may be an academic source.
Expert author with credentials provided. Check the back of the book for information about the author.
Published by a University press or professional organization
+ Q: I can't find any sources in the library's database!
Make sure you are using
keywords to search If your first search doesn't get useful results, try replacing your keywords with synonyms
Make sure you are using formal language as keywords
Find Articles page for more help
If you're still stuck, come see a librarian for more help!
+ Q: How do I cite a website?
These websites & guides may be useful:
+ Q: How can I tell if a source I am using is a good source?
First, make sure the source you are using meets your assignment requirements. For example, avoid using websites if your instructor tells you to only use scholarly articles.
For more tips on evaluating sources, see the
evaluating sources page for more information on finding reliable sources.
Video: How Can the Librarians Help Me?