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Library & Research Readiness Series for Canvas Commons

This series contains modules for use in Canvas course shells. Each module is dedicated to exploring information literacy and/or library use topics, each intended to offer an asynchronous method of delivering content to prepare students for academic resear

Search Strategies

This module (Library & Research Readiness: Search Strategies) has the following goals & outcomes:

After completing this module, students will:

  1. Create effective keyword searches, using both basic and advanced search options.
  2. Apply various Boolean operators and truncation wildcards in searches.
  3. Recognize subject headings in a catalog entry or item record.


It was built with the following components:

  • Goals for the module (student learning outcomes), along with some quick notes for the students. It explains that this module assumes the student:
    • Knows how to access Primo Pathfinder and other online research databases through the UAH Library website, 
    • And has a suitable research topic for their assignment.
  • A page introducing the 3 videos to show different search strategies, as follows:
    • Search Strategies Example 1 (3:14 min.)
      • This shows:
        • phrase searching
        • using filters to narrow down search results by the type of document
          • getting to a reference source - like an encyclopedia entry - when that might help with an overview of the topic (to 'jump-start' their research)
          • getting to books & chapters of books
      • There is a page that briefly recaps this 1st video, and briefly introduces the 2nd video.
    • Search Strategies Example 2 (6:38 min.)
      • This shows: 
        • searching for a particular journal title
        • searching within that journal for other articles
        • chasing down a footnote
        • using filters to narrow down search results by date (to find more-recent results)
      • This also suggests (but does not demonstrate) searching across other databases. 
      • There is a page that briefly recaps this 2nd video, and briefly introduces the 3rd video.
    • Search Strategies Example 3 (6:59 min)
      • This shows: 
        • using standardized terms
        • using Boolean operators on an advanced search screen
        • using truncation & wildcards
      • There is a page that briefly recaps this 3rd video.
  • A summary page listing the different search strategies presented in these videos.
  • A multiple-choice quiz (a 5-point practice quiz in Canvas) to assess student retention of this information.
  • A link to a brief online feedback survey, so that students can share their feedback with the Library.

The intent was for you (as an instructor) to be able to add this module to your Canvas Course, as preparation work prior to a visit or presentation by a librarian to the students in your class. (Note that this can be presented in-person, or via Zoom, or created as a separate recording customized to your course, depending upon how you complete the Library Instruction Request form here(Links to an external site).) 

However, if you are unable to fit in such a presentation with the rest of the schedule from your syllabus, this module may provide a standalone add-on for your course.

Likewise, although the module was built with the components above, you can "un-publish" any components that may not apply to the needs of your students.

If you have any questions about this module or any of the other Library & Research Readiness modules in Canvas Commons, please contact both and

Find this module here in Canvas Commons.