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Class objectives

This library class has been designed to help you with your research paper assignment. By the end of the library class, you will have done the following.

  • Located the library guide for this class
  • Located the library MLA citation guides
  • Reviewed the difference between scholarly and non-scholarly sources
  • Developed a search strategy for your research paper topic
  • Found 1-2 scholarly sources for your research paper

Class slides

Example research question

Throughout this guide, we will be addressing the following example research question.

Should emoji be considered their own language OR is it an evolution of the English language?

Developing your search strategy

Creating a mind map


Using background resources and documenting your research process


 Resources for conducting and documenting background searches

Finding sources

MRU LibrarySearch

Search techniques for LibrarySearch

  • Search different spellings - communicat* (for communicate, communication, communicating)
  • Combine terms - emoji AND language
  • Search phrases - "mobile communication"
  • Search equivalents - emoji OR emoticon

Resource - "Developing your search strategy," University of Leeds

Using Google Scholar to find additional sources

One way to find related academic sources is to use the 'citation chaining' technique. Once you have found a relevant academic source, search the title of that source in Google Scholar and click the 'Cited by' button. This will link you to sources that have cited the article since its publication.

Evaluating sources

How do I identify scholarly resources?

Rules differ by discipline. Start with the general rules below and contact your subject specialist / Liaison Librarian for more help.

Scholarly sources are judged based in part on the following criteria:

  1. Authors: Check that an author is listed, that their credentials are included and that the credentials are relevant to the information provided.
  2. Publishers: Who is the publisher? Scholarly publishers are often academic, scholarly or professional organizations. If not, is the purpose for publishing evident?
  3. Audience: Who is the intended audience? Scholarly sources often use specific or technical knowledge aimed at individuals in a specific discipline.
  4. Content: Why has the information been written? Scholarly sources cite many sources and often include charts, graphs and tables. The content should document the claims being made and provide evidence to support conclusions.
  5. Currency: Currency may be important depending on the topic.


Scholarly sources: includes academic, peer-reviewed and refereed sources. These are sources written by experts in their field. Scholarly sources can be in any format including books, journal articles and websites.

Peer reviewed / refereed: An article that has been peer reviewed has been reviewed by other experts in the field before publication. Used almost exclusively in reference to journal articles.

How can I judge the authority and credibility of information found on the web?

Norms may vary by discipline, start with the general guidelines below and follow up for more specific guidance from a subject specialist / liaison Librarian.

  1. Authority: Does the person, institution or agency providing the information have the knowledge and authority to do so? Look for clear information about who developed the information, contact information, credentials or information about the organization or overarching body that supports the site.
  2. Purpose: Why is the information on the web? To inform, persuade, entertain, sell you something? Consider how the purpose may influence the information.
  3. Currency: The importance of this aspect may differ by discipline, it is especially important in the fields of health and science. When was the information written, has it been updated recently, are the links all working?
  4. Objectivity: Does the information appear to be presented with a minimum of bias?
  5. Accuracy: Is the source of the information (references) provided? Does the information line up with what you have read elsewhere? Is the author associated with a well known and respected institution?

Evaluating Health Information on the Web

Telling good health information from bad on the web is a major issue of concern. There are multiple guides available to help searchers tell the difference, here are a few:

Evaluating Health Information Online - Canadian Public Health Association

Evaluating Health Information - A collection of resources from the National Library of Medicine

What kind of source is it?

Scholarly: 71 votes (100%)
Non-scholarly: 0 votes (0%)
I have no idea: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 71
Scholarly: 2 votes (3.28%)
Non-scholarly: 58 votes (95.08%)
I have no idea: 1 votes (1.64%)
Total Votes: 61
Scholarly: 7 votes (10.29%)
Non-scholarly: 61 votes (89.71%)
I have no idea: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 68
Scholarly: 53 votes (71.62%)
Non-scholarly: 19 votes (25.68%)
I have no idea: 2 votes (2.7%)
Total Votes: 74

Saving sources


  • Permalinks are "permanent links" that will take your back a source you've found. These links exist in different places depending on the database you're using.

Academic Search Complete (EBSCO)

Research Library (ProQueset)

JSTOR Archive Collection

Other tips

  • Save the titles of your articles! You can always search the titles in "quotations" using the library search
  • Take note of the journal issue and volume number
  • Save links and titles in a Google Doc or email them to yourself, so you always have a record

Citing sources in MLA

Start searching

Podcast: Welcome to Macintosh - "Emoji Series"


If you're taking a break from your studies and need some entertainment, below are links to a great podcast series on how new emoji are created.

E1: Will you be my emoji?

E2: The gatekeepers

E3: Emoji incarnate

E4: Pandora's box

Bonus Episode: Emojicon conference


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Erik Christiansen

Phone: 403.440.5168
Office: EL4423C