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NTST 0130 - Winter 2024 Library Session

Annotated Bibliography (15%)

  • Select 5 sources of information that are relevant to your research topic.

  • Describe the source in one to two paragraphs (10-12 sentences maximum).

  • Introduce your bibliography, summarize the content of each of your five sources (whether textbooks, articles, videos, podcasts, websites or personal interviews), and explain how the source supports or informs your topic.

Research Paper (20%)

  • Topic of your choice as it relates to Native Studies.

  • This assignment builds on the Annotated Bibliography by using your 5 sources to discuss a topic related to the course.

  • This paper will be approximately 5 double-spaced pages or 1000 words.

  • Examples include: Discuss, explore and examine the Indigenous - Settler relationship. What are the key aspects of the Indigenous - Settler relationship? Where do you see yourself within the Indigenous - Settler relationship? How do you see the Indigenous - Settler relationship moving forward now and into the future? You can discuss, explore and examine public and private institutions and partnerships that contribute to the Indigenous - Settler relationship using socioeconomic and political lenses.

Your Research Question:

Clear: It is easily understood by your audience/reader.

Focused: It is narrow enough to allow you to address it in your assignment (remember: this paper is 5 double-spaced pages and 1000 words!)

Concise: It is expressed in the fewest possible words (not too wordy).

Complex: It cannot be answered with a yes or no, and it is not a leading question.

Open: It actually can be researched - naturally, it should generate more questions.



Your topic:

Indigenous language revitalization

Rephrase your topic as a question:

How have Indigenous language revitalization initiatives impacted language loss in Alberta?

Possible search concepts/terms:

  • Indigenous language revitalization initiatives

  • language loss

  • Alberta

Your topic:

the Indigenous - settler relationship

Rephrase your topic as a question:

How can Indigenous Peoples and settlers work together to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action? 

Possible search concepts/terms:

  • Indigenous Peoples

  • settlers

  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action

Identifying and Evaluating Sources

Figure 1

Peter Steiner's Famous 1993 New Yorker Cartoon Illustrating an Issue Central to Information Evaluation

Note. From "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog" [Cartoon], by P. Steiner, 1993, Wikimedia (

Evaluating Information

It is good to find lots of search results, but, in order to use information skilfully, you need to know how to evaluate that information to determine whether a specific resource is appropriate to use in a specific use case (i.e. for a specific assignment).

The phrase "evaluating information" actually stands in for a wide range of judgments that we make about information in many different contexts, whether those judgments are about relevance, timeliness, quality, etc.

Librarians have developed several different acronyms to help people remember useful criteria to use in information evaluation. One of my personal favourites is RADAR!

RADAR stands for





Reason for Creation

We can ask the following questions to help us assess each criterion:


  • Does this source fit my topic?

  • What is this source's intended audience?

    • Is that intended audience appropriate for my use case in this assignment?


  • Is/are the creator(s) of this source clearly identified or known to us?

  • How important is it in this use case to trust the source's creator(s)?

    • If it is important, why should we trust the source's creator(s)?

    • Is the source's creator credentialed or an expert in their field?


  • Is the creation or publication date of this source identified or known to us?

  • Is this source too old?


  • Do this source's facts "check out"?

  • Does the source have references of its own?

Reason for Creation (take your best guess at this question using judgments from earlier criteria):

  • Why was this source made?

  • Was this source made to sell a product or service, to inform/educate, to entertain, etc?

Strengths: short, contains background information on a topic, normally a great starting point when you are just learning about a topic
Weaknesses: too short, print encyclopedias are out of date quickly, Wikipedia has reliability issues

Books and Book Chapters
Strengths: Provides an in-depth investigation into a topic
Weaknesses: too long, sometimes hard to tell whether it is scholarly

Scholarly Journal Articles
Strengths: often based on research findings or extensive review, written by experts, reviewed by experts, provides evidence
Weaknesses: Sometimes written using discipline-specific language or terminology, hard to understand,

Media Sources (news, online magazine articles)
Strengths: Good for current information
Weaknesses: Sometimes biased, sometimes written to entertain, often not written by experts, often not reviewed by experts

Websites & Social Media
Strengths: Highly accessible, includes government info
Weaknesses: It is hard to assess credibility and reliability...anyone can post online or create a website

Lectures, Ted Talks, Interviews, Recordings, Testimony
Strengths: Primary, first-hand accounts
Weaknesses: It is hard to assess credibility and reliability...single perspective relying on the accuracy of memory.

Scholarly articles typically have a few characteristics

  • They are peer-reviewed. (Peer review is a publication process)

  • They are published in scholarly peer-reviewed journals.

  • They are written for an academic audience and use technical language.

  • In the sciences and social sciences, they often follow a predictable format.

    • Abstract, introduction/literature review, methods, results, discussion/conclusion

  • They are generally written by researchers in universities or by professionals in a given field.

  • They should include references from other academic sources.

How to Check for an Author's Credibility?

Books: Check the foreword/preface/introduction and back cover of the book. These sections usually provide information on the author's credentials/areas of expertise, etc.  

Articles:  An author of a scholarly (or academic) article will usually include their credentials or affiliations. 

Websites: Check to see if there is an author listed on the site. Check to see if there is an "About Me/Us" link. 


  • Encyclopedias

  • Newspaper/magazine articles

  • Government/agency reports

  • Books and book chapters

  • Journal articles

  • Webpages

Finding Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journal Articles Using LibrarySearch

Things to remember when using LibrarySearch:

  1. Sign in to save searches, items, and to request materials.

  2. Use the pin icon to save books and articles. 

  3. Use the filters on the right. You will use Peer Reviewed, Availability, Resource Type, and Date filters most often.

  4. Some items won't be available. You can request unavailable items using interlibrary loan.

  5. When viewing an item record, scroll down to the Get It or Full-Text section to get the item.

You can search in a way to combine or omit different terms by telling the search engine exactly what you want…this can help you save some time (and frustration!)

  • Use quotation marks to keep phrases together - "Indigenous health"

  • Use  AND to combine search terms - canad* AND Métis AND "self-government"

  • Use OR to connect two or more similar terms - "Métis faith" OR "Métis spirituality"

  • Use wild cards to substitute a letter or suffix with a symbol - canad*

Citation Resources

Citation Resources

  • Cite Sources: Learn the correct way to cite sources by using these guides, tutorials, and videos.

  • Referencing Webinars: APA & MLA. Referencing Webinars are 75 minutes long. Registration is required.

  • Online Appointments: Personalized online 30-minute appointments with a Learning Strategist.


Profile Photo
Joel Blechinger
Phone: 403.440.8624
Office: EL4423E