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This updated online toolkit can guide your students’ research

Written by 
  • March 17, 2022

updated toolkit streamEnsure your students have easy access to everything they need to know about research tactics and resources — from efficient research strategies to evaluation of source material, appropriate techniques for documenting sources and more.

The updated CAS Research Sources and Skills Toolkit was created by Victoria Dawkins, first-year experience and student success librarian, in 2019 to help guide student research by better understanding how to utilize UAB Libraries’ online resources. The toolkit especially came in handy during COVID, Dawkins says, as the university moved to online learning temporarily.

“As the library and everyone else moved online, the toolkit was ready to help with many of our student and faculty needs relating to library instruction,” she explained.

One of the best features of the research toolkit, Dawkins says, is its ability to be used across all disciplines — faculty in the departments of English, Nursing, Health Services Administration, Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, Microbiology, Biology, Immunology, Nutrition Sciences, Criminal Justice, History, and Art and Art History all are now utilizing the toolkit.

The toolkit is divided into seven modules, which can be used as a supplemental tool for individual students or for faculty to use in place of or as a supplement to an in-person instructional session in UAB Libraries.

  • Module 1: Types of Sources/Source Code
  • Module 2: Subject Headings and Keywords
  • Module 3: Search Strategies (most popular)
  • Module 4: Database-Searching
  • Module 5: Evaluating Resources
  • Module 6: Citation Creation
  • Module 7: Plagiarism/Copyright (most popular)

Since the toolkit’s rollout in 2019, Dawkins has worked to streamline the export process for faculty. Originally, the toolkit had to be downloaded as a .zip file and re-uploaded into Canvas by instructors; now, Dawkins can send the toolkit directly to a course’s Canvas shell for faculty to modify the modules for their specific use. She also has implemented more pop-up activities and quizzes into each module, plus a fun, new feature: tour guides.

“Rather than a disembodied voiceover, there is a ‘person’ walking each user through the toolkit,” she said.