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Research Skills Tutorial

This is a self-paced, non-credit course that covers research skills, critical thinking, media and internet literacy, and understanding the complexities of the modern information environment (including libraries.)

How To Use This Course

  • You can learn at your own pace by working through the course from beginning to end, completing whichever activities you like.
  • You can skip around to relevant sections and learn about specific concepts and skills of interest.
  • You can work with your instructor for one of your classes to complete a version of this course (with added learning activities and discussion groups) as an assignment. Note: You will probably also be submitting Research Portfolio assignments to your instructor if you choose this path.

Getting Started and Getting Help

Throughout your university education, many of your assignments will be written assignments. There are multiple types of academic writing assignments, each with different expectations for content and style. Ultimately, your instructor sets parameters for each assignment, and you should communicate directly with your instructor if you are unclear about those expectations.

The SUNY Empire Online Writing Support thoroughly explains different Types of Academic Writing and has tutors available online and onsite to help with your writing.

The Online Library provides access to millions of information sources for your research, and the librarians can answer your questions about the research process and guide you to the best sources for your research.

This Research Skills Tutorial is focused primarily on writing assignments involving research. Once you understand the expectations for research writing, your first task will be to define your research topic and question, which will be covered in the next section.

Creative Commons

For an HTML or XML backup of the current version of the course, please email


If you've made a copy, revision or remix, we would love to hear about it! Email us at

To faculty and librarians from other institutions - you are welcome to make a copy of this resource to share with your users. If you choose to send your students to the original, please emphasize to them that the chat box is for SUNY Empire students only.

Accessibility Note

Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Accessibility Resources and Services by emailing them.  Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the Accessibility Resources and Services website.

Note about Quizzes based on the Research Skills Tutorial

Self-Quizzes have been removed from the Research Skills Tutorial at present. 

Faculty are reminded that the self-quizzes were for student use only, and could not be made to submit results to an instructor.