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NorQuest Library Basics

A guide to accessing and using library resources for online students.

For further help, you can either visit the librarian drop-in office hours or contact the library through our live chat (under the Help menu above) or by email.

How to Start Your Research Assignment

How to Start Your Research Assignment

running start

  • Read your assignment carefully to understand the requirements
  • Highlight the topic guidelines given, required length, and types of information sources allowed
  • Check out FIRST STEPS in the Learn to Research Guide
  • Remember, at any time during the research process you are welcome to ask for help!  Please visit the library desk with your questions, or click on the HELP tab to contact us online.

concept map

  • Remember that your paper must answer the research question that you ask.mapping
  • Examine your topic in detail, ask yourself "who?" "what?" "where?" "when?" "why?"
  • Is your question too broad, too narrow, or just right?
  • Learn the steps for turning your topic into a research question by visiting QUESTION in the Learn to Research Guide

searching using computer


  • Once you have gathered sources of information, it's important to evaluate their quality.
  • Is the information you want to use credible? Is it relevant to your assignment?
  • Check out USE in the Learn to Research guide

Avoiding Plagiarism

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to cite your sources in the body of your work and in your bibliography or reference list. Avoid plagiarism by:

  • learning how to document and cite your sources properly.
  • handing in your own work.
  • paraphrasing, or putting the ideas of others into your own words and using a citation.
  • using quotation marks and an in-text citation when you copy the words of someone else.
  • always giving credit to sources you use in your research.

Learn more about avoiding plagiarism:

Below are some of the most common questions about citations. Click on the question to see the answer. Remember if you have any more questions you can always contact the library!

What is citing? 

What is paraphrasing? 

What is plagiarism? 

What are APA and MLA?  

Citing sources that you find online can be a little different than when you use a book.  We've put some frequently asked questions below.  Simply click on the question to see the answer.

How is citing an online resource different than a book or other print resources? 

What is a DOI? I thought I only needed the URL. 

How do I cite this website if I can't find the author or date? 

How do I cite videos or podcasts that I get online? 

These tools can help you document and format your references.

*Be sure to check generated citations for accuracy with the Library's APA or MLA online guide!

​Database and Journal FAQs

  1. What is a journal? [Answer]
  2. Why should I use journals instead of websites? [Answer]
  3. Where do I find journals? [Answer]
  4. What is a library database? [Answer]
  5. How can I find journal articles on my topic? [Answer]
  6. What does ‘peer-reviewed’ mean? [Answer]
  7. What does ‘evidence-based’ mean? [Answer]
  8. Are there good sources of information other than journal articles? [Answer]

Read & Write Gold 11

Many people find that when they read their own writing, they miss their errors. Read and Write is a program that can help you spot your own errors and develop your writing skills at the same time.

Read and Write can read your writing aloud to you, which helps many people find errors in their writing. It can also help you identify correctly spelled but misused words and help you develop a vocabulary list, among other things.

The best part is that all computers on NorQuest College's downtown Edmonton campus have Read & Write installed, and all NorQuest students can get a copy to use on their own computer for free!

If you'd like more information, or would like to access your free copy of Read & Write, log in to Moodle for instructions!