Hello. Ready for an overview? Let’s start with the goals of these learning experiences: 

1. This age of information is bizarre and hard to navigate. We want to help you be a disciple of learning. We want you to be a seeker of truth and a compassionate, informed human being. Because planet earth needs more of that. 

2. We hope to change the way you view research because the way you view research has everything to do with the ease of completing your assignment as well as the suit you will gain from doing it. We want to make the process pain free and rewarding. 

3. Our final goal is that you finish these experiences with concrete skills to help you in your college career and future learning pursuits. Upon completion you’ll know how to evaluate sources, navigate databases, find interesting and cutting edge information, and more. 

So how will this happen? We’ll look at best practices. There will be some stuff to read, some stuff to watch, and some stuff to do. Mix it all together with your conscious participation and you’ll  finish as a changed human. – Okay, maybe that was a little cheesy, but we do hope you gain something from this. We’re not here to make you busy. 

In fact, everything we ask you to do will be directly related to making progress on your paper. If we ask you to type something, it’s because we know you can use it on your paper. We’re here to help. (At least that’s the hope. If we fail, give us feedback.) Anyways, enough delay: let’s get started. 

1. Get an overview for these learning experiences

2. Be humble

Intellectual Humility

Ready for a game? Complete this quiz, and then we’ll chat. (This quiz was created by the News Literacy Project.)

So how'd you do? 100%?

This quiz highlights that our assumptions are often incorrect. Even things we think we know—like really, really know—are incorrect.

So, in our search for wisdom, learning, and truth (see D&C 109:7), it’s important to practice humility. Consider this verse from the Book of Mormon: 

“O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not” (2 Nephi 9:28, emphasis ours).

In the words of Elizabeth Mancuso, a psychology professor, “Learning requires the humility to realize one has something to learn.” (TA, AG).

We want to share a few ideas with you that we’ve taken from Adam Grant’s book Think Again. In this book, Grant has a proposition or thesis. He wants us to shift the way we think about learning. Here’s a quote: “Intelligence is traditionally viewed as the ability to think and learn. Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn” (2, emphasis ours).

Grant points out the irony that we so readily update trivial things like our clothes and phones, but we rarely update things as significant as our beliefs and world views. One of the problems with our current information climate is that people stubbornly stick to their beliefs. This leads to divisions, closed minds, and tensions. Wouldn’t it be healthy for us all to eat some humble pie and realize that we still have a lot to learn? “After all, the purpose of learning isn’t to affirm our beliefs; it’s to evolve our beliefs” (26).




Do you know what a paradigm is? It’s a little bit abstract, but it’s basically a set of thoughts and ideas that create a certain way to understand something. Sometimes in life, our paradigms shift. And often these shifts can be massive. Like when Copernicus helped people understand that the earth is not the center of the solar system but that the sun is. Or the realization that the earth is in fact, not flat: it’s a sphere (or if you want to be technical, it’s an oblate spheroid). Anyways. 

What does this have to do with research? What does this have to do with getting your homework done?

Here’s the deal: The way we view research and writing – and even information – drastically changes the way we work. And we believe that certain paradigms will help you approach your research in a better way. An easier way. And yes, even a way where you might actually learn something from your research (gasp). Other paradigms can make things harder on you. So we want you to approach researching with the right paradigms. It’ll make it more enjoyable, and it’ll help you develop the skills to navigate this absolutely crazy age of information. 

Let’s get it.

1. Have a paradigm shift regarding information and research.

2. Information is situated in conversations

3. Researching is a form of learning

Research is Learning/Learning is Research

The One Pro-tip

Now, there is one skill that, if implemented, will make your research more efficient and more rewarding. So pay attention. It’s the skill of good note taking. Here’s the logic of the process:

“To get a good paper written, you only have to rewrite a good draft;

to get a good draft written, you only have to turn a series of notes into a continuous text.

And as a series of notes is just the rearrangement of notes you already have…

all you really have to do is have a pen in your hand when you read” (74, Ahrens).

This isn’t a magic pill, but it comes close, so as you research and learn and go through sources, take notes. Take notes on what you are learning/finding interesting and take notes to help you track the sources you find. We’ll give you more tips on the best note-taking practices in future tutorials, so stay tuned, but know that taking good notes will help your researching and writing processes be much better.


Consider what you learned about research paradigms when you read the following scenario. After reading and reflecting. Write a description of what this person could do to view research with a better paradigm.

ScenarioMartin found out that he needs to write a research paper for his Writing 150 class. He worked a lot in high school and was never satisfied with the minimum wage. Now that he’s in college, it’s even harder to find a job that will provide enough money for his tuition and rent. He’s heard there are reasons why raising the minimum wage might be problematic, so he tries a few searches to learn more. Martin didn’t agree with them, so he spends most of his time searching for sources that explain how an increase in minimum wage will help individuals and the economy. 

Source Evaluation

Use the skills you just learned about to investigate this website: Employment Policies Institute  Then, type a response to these questions: 

After some investigation, do you consider the Employment Policies Institute to be a reliable source? How did the organization’s statements about itself compare to what other sources on the web said? Does the organization have any biases? What might they be?

1. Understand the principles of evaluating sources

2. Develop skills to help in evaluating sources 

Next, simply watch the video and then complete the Evaluating News Sources quiz.

Where and How to Get Info

Keywords and Boolean Operators

Watch the following two videos (blue one first, then the purple one):

1. Understand how keywords and boolean operators help me with searching.

2. Become familiar with different databases.

Instructions at the bottom of the page will guide you through a few steps to help you find sources. Perform the searches and copy your search terms into the text boxes at the bottom of the page. 

Database Guide

There are a lot of places out there to find information. Search engines do a good job at grappling with everything out in the world wide web, but that’s a lot of stuff to filter through.

Databases can help you search in a more pointed environment. It’s like walking into a shoe store instead of walking into an entire mall. You’ll find some new kicks quicker. 👟 In this section, you can learn about specific resources you have access to and why you would want to use each one.

*Use the database guide below to help you complete the assignment mentioned at the bottom of the page. 

Source Mining

One of the best ways to learn while researching is to source mine. Information is always in conversation with other information. Because articles cite their sources and references, it’s easier for us to follow the conversation and find more sources. If you’re reading an article, try scrolling to the bottom and looking at the references. There, you can find relevant articles related to your area of interest! Looking at the connections between sources can help you see what different people think of others’ thoughts.

Google Scholar even has a handy “Cited by” function that lets you see how many times an article has been cited by other people. A bigger number can–but does not always–mean that the article has been pretty influential. Clicking on the “Cited by” number will also pull up the articles that use the source you’re looking at! This is a great way to learn more about what people are saying about a certain topic. 


Use keywords and boolean operators to find 2+ helpful resources in the Academic Search Ultimate database. Follow these steps:

1. Perform your first search using just one keyword related to your topic. Look at the number of results and read some of the article titles. Do they seem like they will be helpful?

2. For your second search, add a boolean operator and another keyword. Notice how the results change. (Copy what you typed in the search bar into the text box down below.)

3. Next, change either a keyword, a boolean operator, or both. (Also copy this search and put it into the text box below.) Keep adjusting things until you find 2 sources you can use to learn more about your research topic. 

Develop Your Topic

Develop Your Topic

1. Understand that topics are organic and grow with research or researcher.

2. Feel comfortable using Wikipedia, Gale, and Google for the purpose of gathering background information and becoming informed.

Use Wikipedia and the Opposing Viewpoints Database to learn more about a topic you are interested in.

Background Researching

Now let’s look at two helpful resources: Wikipedia and the Opposing Viewpoints database by Gale. After clicking through the tabs below, you’ll use these resources yourself. When you use them, take notes on what you learn about your subjects of interest. Also, keep track of the articles that seem relevant and helpful. Your future self will thank you. 😉

Wikipedia is one of the best launching pads for research. Yes, we did just say that. It’s good to use Wikipedia. Let’s explore the right ways to go about it.

Getting up to speed

First off, Wikipedia is a great way to get up to speed on a topic you may not be well-versed in. Wikipedia, like any source, shouldn’t be used in isolation—it’s important to use a variety of sources when researching—but it’s a great starting place with a lot of hyperlinked text to help you understand concepts as you read.


Furthermore, you can read to be inspired by certain subtopics on a Wikipedia page. If you’re interested in crypto-currency but don’t know what aspects to explore, a wikipedia page can help you get a little more focused!

Reference Dive

A final reason (we maybe saved the best for last…) to use Wikipedia is because it is often a jackpot for scholarly resources. Think of it as a map that can point you into different directions for research and learning. If there are articles in the references that seem interesting, open them in new tabs and start exploring!

The Opposing Viewpoints database by Gale might be one of the most helpful resources for you as you research. Watch this video to get acquainted. (You’ll be glad you know how to use it.)

The Opposing Viewpoints database can help you understand many of the perspectives of current issues being discussed by people today.

Google has been one of the largest influences on the state of the internet. Practically EVERYBODY uses Google. And that’s because it is super, duper helpful. It’s user friendly and gives us info quickly. We type in a question and get an answer.

When does the sun set? 6:29 PM. 

What are the lyrics to Kanye’s new song? “See this in 3D, all lights out for me…” 

How many types of potatoes exist? Hundreds. 

Google it. Get your answer. Just like that. 

…but wise people use Google with a grain of salt. Maybe even a few grains.

Because Google relies on the words typed in the search bar, good researchers are conscious of the words they use. For example, if you type “minimum wage problems,” Google tries to give you sources that say minimum wage is a problem. A strong bias is likely already built in to the sources you see. Similarly, even though the terms “illegal aliens” and “immigrants” are getting at a similar concept, searching one term over the other will lead you to very different results.

So when using Google:

  1. Be mindful of the keywords you use to search
  2. Be critical of the sources Google provides you with
  3. Look past the first page 🙂


 1. Pick one or two of your topics from the text box above and spend time on Wikipedia and the Opposing Viewpoints Database to  learn a bit about them.

 2. Type a paragraph describing what you learned about your topic from these resources.