Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Ω High School IB/AP

A guide to some resources available without UAlberta CCIDs. Also generalizable information on academic research strategies and techniques.

Library Cards and temporary CCIDs

Visiting campus requirements: www.ualberta.ca/covid-19/campus-safety/visitors.html

For current library info, see library.ualberta.ca (e.g. chat with us or ask us link) 

Library cards: for borrowing and placing holds on physical items.

Bring photo ID and proof of current address to any UAlberta library service desk

Temporary CCID: for accessing electronic materials (e.g. ebooks, journal articles, search databases, some digitized sources)

Bring photo ID and proof of current address to any UAlberta library service desk

On campus use only (campus computers or UWS wifi). Expires at midnight. No limit on how often you can get one. 

Searching Strategies and Techniques

UAlberta Library Tutorials

Library cheatsheet (continually updated):

A very condensed summary used in conjunction with library academic research sessions and individual consultations. If anything intrigues you and you want to explore further, feel free to contact david.sulz@ualberta.ca 

David Sulz library videos

Made for University of Alberta courses in September 2020, done in one take, and only very lightly edited. As a live performance they may omit things, be out of date, and have some errors. 

Other ways to learn about searching:

  • Help information on search engines. Look for "help" or "?" 
  • Internet search: (e.g. library searching, how to search a database, etc)

Evaluating Sources and Evidence

Know your Audience Expectations

Every scholarly discipline (and many individual scholars) has its own ideas about good evidence. Scholarly books and articles as a genre are always accepted but individual works might not pass scrutiny. Other evidence might include: data/statistics, newspapers, government/trade/association/think tank reports, sound or visual recordings, photographs, diaries, journals, correspondence, administrative records, speeches, etc. etc.

Scholarly Sources

Contextual interpretations that critically engage with various types of evidence. They generally have 4 layers:

  • What do we already know? (broad summary of knowledge and context).
  • How do we know it? (lots of citations and links to exact evidence)
  • What's wrong with what we know? (gaps, controversy, disagreement)
  • What's new? (new evidence, sources, interpretation, application, theory)

Be wary of short-cut words like peer-reviewed, academic or scholarly journal; they can be misused. Good scholarship is always peer-reviewed by experts but not all peer-reviewed is good scholarship.

Evaluating sources: 

Some mnemonic devices to remember important criteria.

  • SIFT: STOP. INVESTIGATE the source for surprises. FIND better or different coverage. TRACE the original context for claims and quotes.
  • CRAAP: Currency/Contemporary, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose
    • Note criticisms mentioned in link above - especially that it might make ""students susceptible to misinformation"
  • RADAR: Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, Relevance

Free and Open Resources

Many search engines and other tools on library.ualberta.ca can be used fully or partially without a CCID - but you may reach a point where a CCID is required for further access. Good starting points include "search the library" and subject guides. Below are some free web resources. But there are millions so these are just some starting points.

Scholarly Sources

See characteristics above. Not everything in these suggestions is necessarily scholarly or acceptable for your project. 

Open-access / Free Version Finding Tools 

Good research is often behind subscription paywalls but there are sometimes versions you can find for free (just be aware that the free version might be different than the paid version)

Primary Sources. Non-scholarly.

Usually things created at the time by people involved or present at the event. Each one is usually a very one-sided view but can provide good context in combination with other sources. Their acceptability, however, depends on your topic, discipline, and audience.

In addition to the list below, many archives, museums, and other groups offer their own online free access to vast collections of sources. We don't know them all but we can help you figure out how to use and evaluate them.

Getting Help

Chat box: for short, straightforward questions

Librarian Consultations: for more in-depth and personalized conversations about finding resources for your project (also things like evaluating sources, choosing credible sources, sharing your research).

Important: Tell us early who you are (e.g. high school student, member of the public, alumni, UofA student, grad student, faculty, staff). We help anyone as much as we can but some things are just not accessible to some people. Help us avoid the frustration of suggesting techniques, tools, resources, links that you can't actually use.