Introduction to Library Research

New Version! Fall 2023

We are pleased to bring up a revised and newer tutorial to replace the Introduction to Library Research tutorial. It is part of the Effective U suite of tutorials. This tutorial includes an online workshop for students to complete about their own research topics to help practice and try out the strategies in the tutorial. 


Successful Research paper logo.

Successful research! Pick a research paper topic, choose keywords for a database search, find high-quality sources using library search tools, and evaluate what you find.

Go to Successful Research Papers

At the end of this tutorial you will be able to:

  • Use strategies to pick a research paper topic and develop a research question or thesis statement
  • Brainstorm keywords to build an effective search
  • Find high-quality sources using library search tools like databases
  • Evaluate search results and sources for your research papers and projects

Please let me know if you have any questions (

Introduction to Library Research (Old version)

WE ARE PHASING OUT THE USE OF THIS TUTORIAL -- if possible, please use the newer Successful Research Papers tutorial (and online worksheet). This tutorial will be removed in December 2023. Please contact Kate Peterson ( with any questions or feedback. 



Intro to Library Research is designed to teach students about the depths of the University Libraries and the basics of academic library research. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete and includes an online worksheet students should complete based on their own research topics.

Start Introduction to Library Research







Questions? Contact Kate Peterson at or Lacie McMillin at

More about Intro to Library Research (Old version)

Intro to Library Research (ITLR) is...

A curriculum designed to teach students new to the University of Minnesota and to academic research about the depth of the University Libraries and the basics of academic library research. It is designed to be part of the First Year Writing (FYW) courses to teach basic information literacy skills. It can also be useful to anyone who needs an overview on using the Libraries for research.

Intro to Library Research

Intro to Library Research is face-to-face or online. Students will complete the Library Research Worksheet on their own research topics as they go through the module. This worksheet can be emailed or printed and turned in for credit.


Initially, library instruction was requested by individual faculty and taught by a couple librarians across the system. In response to an extreme staffing shortages and this unsustainable model the University Libraries developed the “Unravel the Library” series of workshops in 2002-03. The primary goal of “Unravel” was to meet the need for library instruction generated by over 70 sections of English Composition, later renamed First Year Writing. In fall 2008, we debuted an online version of Unravel 2 workshop to take advantage of students comfort with technology and with the goal of teaching more FYW students. The online modules offer interactive learning with 24/7 convenience and similar student learning outcomes as the face-to-face session. Between 2008 and 2010 we saw good acceptance for the online modules: about 50% of students who completed Unravel 2 took the online version.

The Libraries began working on redesigning the "Unravels" in October 2009. We gathered data from two focus groups of First Year Writing faculty and instructors, conducted a FYW instructor survey and student survey of past Unravel participants, and did a literature review. Based on our analysis of the data we determined that the sessions should include more information about and practice with evaluation while continuing to teach search strategy, getting full text, finding articles including scholarly/peer reviewed journals and giving students a general overview to the Libraries. Since this time we have made continuous improvements and changes to the curriculum. 

Instructors, if you would like to request an in-class workshop, or for more information, contact:

Kate Peterson, Librarian | 612-626-3746

Technical Help (Old version)

If you are having trouble accessing the Intro to Library Research worksheet

1. Try opening the worksheet in a new browser program (e.g. if you are using Firefox, try opening a new Safari or Chrome browser window).

2. OR -- follow these steps to login with your UMN id.

3. For those not affiliated with the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus, please use this form: (NOTE: you should save the form before you submit (file -> print -> as pdf) -- the public version cannot send you a copy.)

4. OK, OK -- None of that worked?? Here is a version of the form in Microsoft Word:

Basic requirements

1. A PC or Mac that meets the minimum hardware requirements (see "Hardware Requirements" below) 2. A supported web browser (see "Supported Web Browsers" below) 3. PC or Mac: Adobe Flash Player, 4. iOS-based Mobile: Articulate Mobile Player, free in the App Store 5. Speakers or headphones required

Hardware requirements

Microsoft® Windows® Processor: Intel® Pentium® II 450MHz, AMD Athlon® 600MHz or faster processor Memory: 128MB of RAM Graphics Memory: 128MB Sound card Mac OSX Processor: Intel Core™ Duo 1.33GHz or faster processor Memory: 128MB of RAM Graphics Memory: 128MB Sound card

Supported web browsers

Internet Explorer 6.0+, Mozilla Firefox 2.0+, Google Chrome 2.0+ Safari 3.0+, Opera 9.5+, AOL 9+

Mobile friendly

Android iOS Windows®


Why are the tutorials not loading?

Please make sure you have the newest version of Adobe Flash Player installed and you are running a supported web browser. For more information please consult the lists above.

Why are the tutorials displaying strangely on my screen?

The tutorials are 1280x720 large. The most common error is the tutorials extend beyond the edges of your screen. Try:

  • Right-click on the tutorial in your browser window and select "show all" from the menu
  • Ctrl--(Ctrl-minus) Make text smaller, or zoom out (on a Mac, Cmd--(Cmd-minus))
  • Ctrl-+ Make text larger, or zoom in (On a Mac, Cmd-+)
  • Last, you may need to adjust your display resolution to at least 1280x720

Where can I post a comment or suggestion to improve the tutorials?

Please send comments to Kate Peterson at

I am not affiliated with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus - how can I access the Research Worksheet used in the tutorials?

Here is a version of the Research Worksheet available non-Twin Cities campus affiliates:

Are these tutorials available in an alternate format?

Yes! Please contact Kate Peterson at (612-626-3746).

For all other questions please contact:

Kate Peterson at

Last Updated: Sep 27, 2023 2:46 PM