Research Help

Getting one-on-one help; Video tutorials

1) Start your research: finding keywords

This video helps you discover the main keywords on a research topic.

Start your research: finding keywords
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Start your research: finding keywords

Let's say you've just been given an assignment where you have to use 2 to 3 resources and your topic is computers. Where do you go from here? How do you narrow it down? The first step is to take your topic and develop that into a research question.

When a student comes to the research help desk asking for help on their topic, my first response is, "what more specifically do you want to learn about your topic?" That's because usually, whatever they said to me is way too broad of a topic and it should be narrowed down. This topic can be narrowed by social, political or economic issues. For example, how have video games influenced the e-sports industry?

Another way you can narrow your topic is by looking at a specific, population group (such as children or Indigenous) or location (such as Canada or Ontario). For example, how has online shopping been influenced by mobile technology in Canada? You can even relate your topic to another topic such as, How is artificial intelligence changing education? Notice how each of these questions have a much narrower focus than the big topic of computers. That's what makes good research questions.

So let's pick this as our research question: How is artificial intelligence changing education? Now that we have our manageable research question, let's determine the keywords. Why keywords you may ask? Sometimes I catch students searching the library by typing the whole question or sentence. No. Don't do that. Rather, you need to find the main concepts or ideas in your question. Those keywords can be single words or phrases.

So for our question what would the main concepts be? They are: artificial intelligence and education. By the way since words like: affect, enable, rate, impact, or advantage, describe a relationship between keywords, they should not be considered good keywords to use. Once you have the main keywords for your topic, sometimes you'll need to find additional keywords to use in your search. This will ensure that you find all of the best, most relevant information for your topic. Determining keywords can be one of the hardest steps in the research process. Fortunately, there are many different ways to come up with alternate keywords.

One way is to use a thesaurus to identify alternative terms. Another way is if you have a book on your topic, try skimming the table of contents or read a chapter to identify more keywords that you haven't thought of before. Or quickly glance a website that's on your topic. What terminology do they use? You can also search Google or Wikipedia for ideas but remember that Wikipedia is not considered a credible academic source. But you can certainly use it to brainstorm keywords.

Now that we've got our keywords we can now use those words to search the library for resources.

2) Searching keywords in MultiSearch

This video guides you in using MultiSearch with one of the keywords you discovered from the last video.

Searching keywords in Multisearch
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Searching keywords in MultiSearch

The library has many databases to support your assignments. Most of which can be searched simultaneously from the MultiSearch box located on the library's homepage. You can search for eBooks, streaming video recordings, academic journals, research starters, and multiple article databases that we subscribe to.

In the last video, we ended up identifying artificial intelligence and education, as the main keywords which we can now use in MultiSearch.

So let's go to the library homepage. One way to get there is by going to You'll find our MultiSearch box. So go ahead and enter: artificial intelligence. Then click search. Within MultiSearch you are able to locate a number of different types of resources as it searches through many of the article databases that support your program.

Near the top of the results, notice there is a research starter on your topic. Research starters give a nice, background overview of your topic. This is also another place that you can review to find more keywords. Next let’s see what eBooks we have available.

On the left hand side under Source Types, click Show More, then check eBooks, then click Update. This limits the results to only electronic books. Notice the eBook icon beside all the results. Let's say you're interested in this eBook. To read it, click Online Access or sometimes it will say PDF Full Text. eBooks are great for helping us understand a topic at a broad level.

Let's now try a different limiter. So let's take away the filter for eBooks and this time checkmark: videos. Now our results include video recordings in DVD format and streamed video. If it's a streamed video you'll notice the status that says Click Online Access to view. That link is located here in the middle of the record. Videos are great for presentations or can be used as a resource.

So alongside eBooks and videos, let's try to find articles. So take away the checkmark for videos. Articles are found in newspapers, magazines and journals.

Articles are generally more specific and more current. To access the article you will typically see PDF full text, HTML full-text or Check for item etc. Finally, if you need peer-reviewed articles, click the checkbox for scholarly peer-reviewed as well

3) Using AND & OR in MultiSearch

This video guides introduces you to the AND & OR operators when finding articles.

Using AND & OR in Multisearch
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Using AND & OR in MultiSearch

Now let's modify our search to include our second keyword -- education. Let's remove any limits we may have had before and then type the second keyword in the next search box. Always put one idea or concept per line and connect them by AND to find more relevant results. Notice MultiSearch automatically has AND by default. Click Search and you'll notice the number of your search results has reduced. These results contain only those items that contain both keywords. For example, if I were to do a Control-F, to find the words on this page you'll notice that each of the results contains both artificial intelligence and education.

Here's how AND works. The analogy that I like to use is Facebook. Your mutual friends list is a result of an AND operator. You have 'you', your friends, your friend and their friends -- somewhere behind the Facebook code, there is an actual AND operator that looks at both of you and outputs a list of shared friends.

Same thing here -- you have a bunch of articles about artificial intelligence. Over here you have a bunch of articles about education. The AND operator will only output a list of articles that talk about both ideas resulting in more relevant and focused results. If the article does not talk about both, it's discarded.

Now what happens if the perfect article never uses the word education. What are the chances of finding that article? What is a synonym of education? Perhaps College or university. So to widen our net, and to try to capture those articles, we can use the OR operator. So in our second box where we already typed education, add 'OR college where the word OR is in capital letters. Then click Search. Our results have increased, but are still relevant to our topic.

Here's how OR works. MultiSearch examines the article to see if talks about education. If it does, it's part of the list of results. If it doesn't, MultiSearch then tests to see if it talks about college. If it does, it's part of the list of results. Which means, if the article does not contain either of those concepts, it's discarded. These results will then be further refined since they need to include 'artificial intelligence' as well.

Now that we have a list of relevant results, the next step, is evaluating whether or not these articles are useful and relevant for our assignment.

4) Evaluating resources

This video guides helps you evaluate whether your books and articles meet your assignment requirements.

Evaluating resources
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Evaluating resources

Let's say you have to write a research paper using at least one book and one scholarly article published within the last 5 years on the topic of – How is artificial intelligence changing education. Let's imagine you also searched MultiSearch using the keywords: artificial intelligence AND education. And you found two potentially good resources.

The first one in this eBook (The Fourth Education Revolution). To evaluate whether or not it's good for your topic, ask yourself the following five questions.

1) Does it include my keywords in the title and subject headings? Remember we pretended to search using the keywords 'artificial intelligence' AND 'education'. As you can see, the word 'education' does appear in the title and the subjects so that's good. The phrase 'artificial intelligence' only appears in the subjects, but not the title. Is that a cause for concern? I don't think I'm too worried about that at this point. I think this resource is potentially still good.

2) Is this published in the required timeframe? Remember our assignment required that our sources be published within the last five years. So when was this book published? As you can see beside “Publication Information” it's 2018, so that's good.

3) Does the type of resource meet the assignment requirement? For example: is it scholarly? You can usually tell if a book is scholarly based on the publisher's name. Here it's University of Buckingham Press which is good -- that is a reputable scholarly name. If the publisher name isn't as obvious, sometimes you may need to look at the author's credentials to see if they have a Ph.D, for example. on this particular topic.

4) Does the abstract or the table of contents reflect what I need to answer my research question. On reading the abstract, I’m not so sure anymore. Notice it focuses more on exploring the history of education, styles of education, types of intelligence, adapting our methods to new technologies as part of an education framework.

Note that what we are doing here is a lot of critical thinking and sometimes the answer may not always be so clear. For example, if an abstract is not displayed or is vague, sometimes you may need to just fetch the book yourself and browse the table of contents or skim a chapter or two to really know. Fortunately the table of contents is listed below and as you can see, most of these chapters are irrelevant except for these few that potentially could work for our topic.

5) Is this source useful for my assignment? So based on all of our above questions, I think the answer is, yes but only for a few particular chapters that seems relevant.

Okay, let's say the second resource you found was this academic journal article (The Use of Artificial intelligence combined with cloud computing in the design of education information management platform). Let's go through the same steps to evaluate it.

Here I see both my keywords 'artificial intelligence' and 'education' appear in the title, so that's good. But in the subjects, only 'artificial intelligence' is there, and the word 'education' was used in the context of “design education." Is that a cause for concern? Perhaps. We’ll keep that concern in mind as we move on.

I see that it's published in 2021 so that meets the required timeframe.

In our case, you can tell by the icon it's an academic journal. So that meets the scholarly requirement. And remember you can always click the checkbox for scholarly / peer-reviewed if in doubt. Also, feel free to ask your professor for any clarification about assignment requirements.

So what's really interesting is, if you read the abstract, it talks more about "management platform", "server clusters", "data storage" and "database stress test", My research question is "How is artificial intelligence changing education?" and this seems to focus more on I.T. management and administration which seems way too specific for my needs. So does the abstract reflect what I need to answer my research question? I think the answer to this is -- no. Is this source useful for my assignment? I'd say based on that last question and learning more about what this article is really about, combined with our earlier concern about the subjects lacking ‘education’, I think the answer is no.

Click on HTML full text or PDF Full text to read the actual article. If you decide to use it, you can email, print or cite it, which I'll cover in the next video.

5) Citing Tools and APA 7th edition guide

This video teaches you a few tools for citing and an overview of APA 7th edition guide.

Citing Tools & APA 7th edition guide
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Citing Tools and APA 7th edition guide

Let's say you've clicked on an article that has PDF full-text available that you intend to use for your research. Here are three very useful tips.

1) On the right hand side is a bunch of icons, one of which is the email icon which looks like an envelope. Click it. A form pops open where you can enter your email address and on the right you'll see a drop down menu where you can select which citation format you want. Here at Georgian we use APA so ensure that is selected. Once you click on send, you get the article attached as a PDF and the APA citation. How cool is that?

Word of warning, I have seen this tool give the wrong information. So it's a good starting point, but make sure you verify the information and formatting. You can use or the library's APA guide as starting points. Your professor or the Writing Center can also help with tricky items.

2) Back on the right hand side there is a cite icon which gives the citation information of all the different formats -- APA being one of them. From here you can simply copy and paste your citation to your reference page. Again double check to verify that it's correct

3) if you wish to print the PDF article open it up and click on the print icon near the upper right corner within the PDF. That will print your whole article. If you mistakenly clicked on this print icon on the right hand side, that will only print your APA reference.

For more help with APA, go to the library's homepage at then click the APA icon.  This site has been updated to follow the 7th edition of APA.  Listed are various APA categories designed to quickly help you cite your source at hand.  Do you need help with in-text citations?  Selecting the in-text citations link will inform you of some key terminology and various examples of  in-text citations.  Do you have a journal article to cite?  Selecting "What are textual works" will eventually lead you  to several subcategories, "Articles: Journals" being one of them. Do you need to cite a website or social media?  Selecting "What is online media" will help you with that.

6) Accessing MultiSearch from home

This video shows you the required steps in order to access library databases from home.

Accessing Multisearch from home
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Accessing MultiSearch from home

You can access the library's resources when you're not at a campus.

Let's say you're at home, using MultiSearch . You will eventually get this login screen where you'll be prompted to enter your Georgian account information. This is the same account that you use to access other college systems like Blackboard or the student portal.

Finally, we're here to help you so just ask. Feel free to visit us at the research help desk in the library, call us or email us or use our virtual reference chat or text service called AskON. AskON is a service where colleges from Ontario like Georgian, Seneca and Centennial are all on there and since we pretty much use all the same databases we can all help you find your books, articles and other resources that you need for your next assignment.