How to Do Research

If you are like most students faced with doing a research assignment, you will go to a search engine like Google, but are you aware of the issues with Google Searching?  Check out this short eye-opening video before you go any further!

Every day we are inundated with vast amounts of information.  As a college student, it is important to master the skills needed to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation.  This new type of literacy also requires competency with communication technologies, including computers and mobile devices that can help in our day-to-day decision making.  You may have heard of the term "Information Competency,"  but we could just as well refer to it as "Information Fluency" or, better,  "Information Accuracy."

Libraries provide gateways to all kinds of information.   

Librarians  ̶  professional information managers  ̶  collect, classify, organize, and provide access to information.  The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.  Now that the Internet can lead you to vast amounts of information, librarians stand ready to help you develop strategies for finding and using the most appropriate and authoritative information for your research.   That is what this online course is all about: learning how to find high-quality, accurate information. 

Whether your information need is to find course-related research (e.g. writing a research paper with a defendable thesis), or everyday life research (e.g. finding out the side effects of a medication prescribed to you), this online class will teach you how to navigate the world of information with confidence and savvy.

Scientific Information Literacy Modules
Unit 1:  What is Science?
Unit 2:  Scientific Information
History Information Literacy Modules
copyright 2013 Napa Valley College

updated October 30, 2013 
by Nancy McEnery, Reference Librarian-Instructor

typewriter with "http" typed 

What is information competency? 

Information competency is the ability to identify an information need, locate information efficiently, evaluate information, and use information effectively.


Institutional Learning Outcome (ILO)

Critical Thinking & Information Competency: 

Students who receive a degree from Napa Valley College will be able to:  

Read and interpret college- level texts

  • Conduct research and obtain information from reliable sources
  • Differentiate between facts, influences, assumptions, and conclusions
  • Analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information
  • Cite sources correctly, using established formats/standards
  • Apply logic to draw conclusions
  • Conduct calculations and solve problems using quantitative reasoning
  • Interpret visual information conveyed through images, graphs, charts, and diagrams
  • Demonstrate technological fluency
  • Evaluate alternatives, anticipate possible outcomes, and make informed decisions

Information Literacy Research Articles, Organizations and Websites