5 Things to Know about the Library

Library Website Overview

Should I be using Google or the Library resources for a paper?
Overview on Topic Selection

Before diving into the search, spend some time thinking about what you want out of your search.  

  • What is your topic?
  • What is your research question?
  • What words will you use?
  • What databases will you access?

Use the attached worksheets as your guide.

PDF iconDeveloping a research question.pdf

PDF iconResearch Plan.pdf



Picking Your Topic IS Research

Developing a Research Question


PICO is the frame used to base questions and answers in evidence-based medicine.

P: Patient or problem

I: Intevention, exposuire, prognosis factor

C: Comparison

O: Outcome

Make a Research Plan

Start your research plan with these three questions:

  • What do I know?
  • What do I want to know?
  • How will I find this information?

Once you know what you need to know and where you should look, develop a list of terms to search with. Think if synonyms and professional language that will help you get the best results list.

Remember your first search is never your last search. Construct several different search queries to use with Boolean Operators. 

Choosing Your Keywords

Boolean Search Basics

Generating Useful Keywords for Your Database Searches


The types of sources you use to do research is important. Not all information is created equally. There are better sources for different types of information needs.  

Review the materials below to learn more about how sources are created and information is disseminated. 

Know Your Sources: A Guide to Understanding Sources (infographic)
Information Cycle

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources
Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Handout

Scholarly Sources and Popular Sources
Peer Review in 3 Minutes

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article (website)
Hierarchy of Evidence

Researching: Levels of Evidence

Determining the Level of Evidence

Follow this flow cart to help you decide the level of evidence:

PDF iconlevels of evidence flow chart.pdf


Websites have a wealth of information, but not websites are reputable or have legitimate information. If you are using information found on the web, you must evaluate the information before using it. One way to evaluate information is with the CRAP Test. 

When you find information, evaluate it with the CRAP Test. The CRAP test is a series of questions to help researchers decide if the information they have found meets the criteria of currency, reliability, authority and purpose/point of view.

C: Currency

How recently has the website been updated? Is a date even included? Is the material current enough for your topic? Is it up-to-date?

R: Reliability

What sources were included in the resource? Is the information balanced? Is it primarily opinion? Are references included (especially for quotes and data)? Is the information presented accurately?

A: Authority

Who is the creator/author?  What are their credentials? How is the research funded? Who is the publisher?  Is the publisher/author reputable?

P: Purpose/Point of View

Is the information fact or opinion? Is it biased? Is the author trying to sell you something?


CRAP Test adapted from http://loex2008collaborate.pbworks.com/w/page/18686701/The%20CRAP%20Test


PDF iconCRAP test.pdf

Website Credibility Tutorial
The Deep Web

Questions to Ask

1. Who is telling me this?

2. How do they know it?

3. What's in it for them?


Once you have decided what type of information you need, you can search. 

Not all information is available through a web search. The library has access to thousands of books and articles not available by "googling it." The library is part of the deep web, which is the part of the web behind a pay wall.  As a student of Methodist College, the library has already paid for your access to the best databases for health sciences.

Read/watch the materials below to learn about searching the web and library databases.

Discovery Tool

Ebsco Discovery Tutorial



EDS: Improving Your Search Results

CINAHL Advanced Searching



Basic Searching


Advanced Keyword Searching



Ovid Today


Biography in Context Tutorial

Find information about famous people with the database Biography in Context.

Accessing Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter

Learn how to access the Legal Eagle Eye Newsletter at Methodist College.

Nursing Reference Center (CINAHL Nursing Guides)

Consumer Health Complete


As you use sources in your project, you need to remember to use them ethically and legally. Plagiarism is a major academic offense and can get you in trouble (fail an assignment, a class or be dismissed from the college).

When using a source in a project, make sure you cite the source. Using citations gives credit where credit is due but it also supports your argument.

Visit the APA site on D2L for more information.

Writing Style and Citations


Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association ( for APA)

MLA Handbook

Purdue OWL

One of the best places to get information on APA and MLA is the Purdue Online Writing Lab or Purdue OWL.

APA Tips:

  • Watch your capitalization in the title. The APA handbook says in section 6.29, "Capitalize only the first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any, and any proper nouns; do not italicize the title or place quotation marks around it.  Finish the element with a period."
  • Include the DOI or the URL to the home page of the journal not the URL form the database. The APA handbook says in section 6.32, “If no DOI has been assigned to the content, provide the home page URL of the journal or of the book or report publisher. If you are accessing the article from a private database, you may need to do a quick web search to locate the URL. Transcribe the URL correctly by copying it directly from the address window in your browser and pasting it into you working document (make sure the automatic hyphenation feature of your word processor is turned off).”
  • Auto generators for citations are rarely 100% correct.  Always check against the manual.

Reserve a Study Room

Study Room Use Standards

Library Study rooms are intended to provide a space for collaborative and cooperative study related to classroom and research activities. Study room use will be scheduled to ensure more equitable access.

  • The library staff will manage the reservations of the study rooms. Reservations may be made online, in-person or by calling the library.
  • Study rooms are to be reserved for groups only (2 or more people).
  • Reservations can be made up to 7 days in advance.
  • Groups may reserve a study room for up to 2 hours per day.
  • When the reserved time is up the group must vacate the space and/or reserve additional time, if available.
  • Reservations that are not claimed within fifteen minutes of the reservation time are subject to cancellation.
  • If there is no reservation or a reservation is canceled, a “drop-in” study group is permitted to use the space after conferring with the library staff.
  • The noise level should not interfere with the studies of other individuals in the area.
  • Groups are responsible for the condition of the room.  It should be left in good condition.
  • Study rooms are available for use to all Methodist College students and employees. Priority is given to students.
  • If these standards are broken, the users may be asked to leave the study room