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LEAP 3: Panel Discussion

By the end of this class you will be able to:

  1. Locate the library research guide for this class
  2. Describe at least two characteristics of a quality source
  3. Evaluate some example resources in pairs or small groups
  4. Search for sources using the MRU LibrarySearch

You are giving a panel discussion based on research on a topic that your group has selected. You will need to use the library's resources to find the information you need for the panel dicussion.

  1. Problem / solutions
  2. Demonstrate research
  3. Include visuals and graphics (chart, table, map, ...)
  4. Submit references
  5. One academic source NOT found through Google

When writing academically, your are expected to use the best sources available to you.  Academic sources are often harder to understand (from an English language perspective) than non-academic sources.  You need at least three academic sources for the presentation assignment.  Here are some important sources that meet the requirements of the presentation.

  1. Encyclopedias
  2. Books (print and ebooks)
  3. DVDs and Streaming Video
  4. Newspapers
  5. Magazines
  6. Journals

Before you begin to search

  • Four steps to choosing your topic and research question

    • Choose a more general question or topic
    • Do some background research to find out a bit more and see how others have discussed that topic.
    • Develop some more focused questions that you might want to focus on
    • Further define your topic - avoid being too broad (or you will never be able to cover it all) or too narrow (you may not find enough information)
    • Not sure if your topic is too broad or too narrow? You might have to do a bit more searching and reading to find out. 
  • Some ways to narrow a topic:

    • Place (geography, location, setting, etc.)

    • Population (Age, demographic, etc.)

    • Timeframe (year, decade, etc.)

    • Relevant issue or challenge (eg. difficulty finding work, learning disability, etc.)


  • Quality refers to how trustworthy your source is.
    1. Purpose: Why did the authors write it?  How do you know that?
    2. Audience:  Who did the authors write it for?  How do you know that?
    3. Authority:  Who wrote the source?  How do you know that?
    4. Currency:  How recently was it written?  How do you know that?
    5. Reliability: Does your source provide details about where they got their information - such as references?
    6. Relevance: What does this source have to do with my topic?  How do you know?

Visual for Quality and Relevence

Less is more: Start with one or two words and then add one additional term at a time

  • education
  • education university

Search phrases: Use "quotation marks" around key ideas made up of multiple words

  • "post-secondary education"
  • very useful when you have a specific phrase containing common words

Search different spellings: Use or  and parentheses () to search similar keywords

  • (football or soccer)
  • (policy or issues)

Use limits: These refine (narrow) your search using different restrictions

  • Date (last 10 years)
  • Peer-reviewed (for articles)

You can combine all the above in your search:

  • homelessness canada policy
  • homelessness canada issues
  • homelessness canada (debate or issues)
  • "coral reefs"  (threats or solutions or issues)

These tips work with LibrarySearch as well as:


Why do we cite and reference sources?

  1. Citing helps your reader know that you're not making things up
  2. Citing makes you a more reputable source of information
  3. "Common knowledge" is not always accepted by the scientific community. Confirm common knowledge and cite your source
  4. Paraphrasing and summarizing demonstrates that you understand the material

How do I start referencing?  Use the "cite" option, found in many search tools, to put your source into APA format. 

What if there is no "cite" option?  Use the MRU citation guide (and ask for help at the service desk)

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Erik Christiansen

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