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Basic Research Tutorials

The Joseph F. Smith Library offers many services and a variety of learning resources for you, our BYU—Hawaii community. We are here to serve you! We will guide you to the library resources available. What would you like to do today? Click on the links below to get started.

Teachers: Looking to have one or all of these modules as a graded assignment in Canvas to add in your class? Great! Please visit our Library Plug-Ins page to import the relevant assignments.


  • Let's get started! In this section, you will learn how to find a book. We recommend that you watch the videos then read and follow along with the step-by-step instructions to reinforce the concepts in the tutorial.


    1. Go to the Joseph F. Smith Library homepage

    From this page, you can search most library resources, such as books, ebooks, articles, music, and videos.

    A screenshot of the homepage of Joseph F. Smith Library
    Photo by Joseph F. Smith Library

    2. Type in your keywords

    In the search box enter keywords, phrases, authors, or titles. For example, if you wanted to see if there are any Harry Potter books on the shelf, simply type in "Harry Potter" and hit enter on your keyboard.

    A screenshot of a user typing "Harry Potter" on the search bar on the homepage
    Photo by BYUH Library

    SEARCH TRICKS: Search the exact phrase by putting quotes around it: "American values".
    When searching for an author, try [last name, first name] as well as [first name, last name]

    3. Limit the results

    To find books and ebooks, go to Source Types and click Show More in the left margin. Check the boxes for both Books and eBooks and click on Update.

    A screenshot showing the different source types in the library database
    Photo by BYUH Library

    4. Limit only to books on the shelves

    Click on the BYU-Hawaii Catalog only to see what books are currently available to borrow. If the book is available, you can see the location in the library and the call number where the books can be found on the shelf.

    A screenshot showing results of the search
    Photo by BYUH Library


    5. Grab paper and pencil

    To find the book on the self, write down the location and call number.

    A screenshot showing how to find books on the shelf in the library
    Photo by BYUH Library

    6. Use the library map to help you find the location.

    Use this link to get to the virtual library map.

    7. Locate the section of the library

    Look for labels at the end of the bookshelves. Match the call number to the book on the shelf.

    A girl taking a book from the shelf
    Photo by BYUH Library

    8. Borrow the book(s)

    If you want to check-out or borrow the book, go to the Circulation Desk and they will help you. Don't forget to bring your current BYUH ID card.

    Girl with glasses sitting and resting her back on a bookshelf while reading a book
    Photo by BYUH Library


    Learn how to read a call number and find a book on the shelf.

    1. Watch the video below to find more details.
    2. Or just come ask one of the librarians for help!

    How to Read a Library of Congress Call Number (University of Arkansas Libraries)

    Can't find a book or an article?

    Can't find a resource at our library?
    Try using Interlibrary Loan!

    Interlibrary Loan at BYUH

    If we don't have a book or an article at our library, please request it through Interlibrary Loan and we will have it delivered here for free from another library. It should take anywhere from 4-14 days so make sure you request a book ahead of time.

    For new users:

    Follow the 'Create an Account' link found at the Interlibrary Loan page

    A screenshot with an arrow pointing to the create an account link
    Photo by BYUH Library

  • In this section, you will learn how to find an eBook. You can follow along with the step-by-step instructions below.

    1. Find books to read on your devices

    EBooks are books in digital formats. If you see the "Click for ebook" link under the book subjects, you can open and view the files immediately on your computer by clicking the links.

    Screenshot of EBSCO Discovery Service for BYUH with arrows pointing to PDF full text options
    Photo by BYUH Library

    2. Other Formats

    If you see "View Record, or Retrieve Catalog", simply follow the instructions to view the eBook.

    A screenshot that points how to view record or how to retrieve a catalog item
    Photo by BYUH Library

    Need Help?
    Ask one of the Information Consultants for assistance at any time.

  • Why is it important to use scholarly journal articles for your paper when there are millions of articles online to choose from? The answer is the peer-review process. Scholarly articles are written by professors, researchers, and other experts. These articles go through a rigorous review process by their peers to ensure that the articles are credible and of high quality. When you use scholarly articles in your paper, know that these articles are relevant and add credibility to your work.

    Let us show you how simple it is to find a scholarly article. Follow the steps below.

    1. Enter your search terms in the search bar

    At the library homepage, type in your keywords or phrases in the search bar and hit enter. For this example, I will type in "Harry Potter" in the search box.

    Screenshot showing the Harry Potter library search of the user
    Photo by BYUH Library

    2. Limit the results

    Refine your results by using the limiters on the left margin. To limit the results to scholarly journals, go to "Limit To" in the left margin and check "Peer Reviewed". This should narrow the results to scholarly journals and other scholarly sources.

    Screenshot showing the checked Peer Reviewed box
    Photo by BYUH Library

    What are peer-reviewed articles?

    Peer-reviewed articles are articles that have been reviewed and evaluated by experts and professionals before being published. This means that the article is probably a good resource for your research. It is always good practice to use peer-reviewed articles for your research paper.

    3. Viewing the articles immediately

    In your results list, you can view the article immediately on your computer by clicking on the links such as "PDF Full Text" or "HTML Full Text".

    Screenshot pointing to PDF Full Text, HTML Full Text
    Photo by BYUH Library

    4. Viewing other formats

    If you see "View Record, Full Text Finder, Check SFX for full text or other formats," follow the instructions to view the article.

    Screenshot pointing to Check SFX for full text
    Photo by BYUH Library

  • Sifting through information

    The internet is a great place to find both scholarly and popular sources. But with so much information found online, sometimes it takes time to determine what is reliable and valuable. Along with good information, you will also find opinions, biases, misconceptions, and misleading information. Developing skills to evaluate what you see is necessary, such as knowing what questions to ask when looking online for answers.


    Ask yourself these questions below when evaluating any source.

    • Authority: Know the author. Who is the author? What is their point of view? What are their credentials or qualifications? Is the information fact or opinion? Has the author or website provided contact information? Does the website have .edu, .org, or .gov in the URL?
    • Purpose/Objectivity: Think about perspective. Is the information biased? Why was the source created? Who is the intended audience? Is it trying to persuade you or sell something? Is the information balanced? Is the information factual or opinion?
    • Authenticity: Know the source. Is the information authentic? Are sources cited? Who is cited? Is factual information cited?
    • Reliability: Consider the origin of the information. Is the information accurate? How do you know the source is trustworthy?
    • Relevance: Think about whether you need this information. How is it relevant to your research? Is the information helpful to your project?
    • Date of Publication: Think about the timeliness and currency. When was it written? Has the website been updated? Is all the information still accurate or have things changed since then?

    Source:  Adapted from UC Berkeley Library and CCRI Library

    Some websites that you can find sources from

    Man and woman studying and writing notes.


    .edu are educational sites. Information from here are usually credible, however examine it carefully because personal websites many not be monitored. Use the questioning checklist above to determine if the site is credible and reliable.
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    The White House


    .gov represents the US federal government sites. This domain include all branches of the US federal government, such as Congressional hearings, Supreme Court rulings, or National Park information. The information from here is credible.
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    Man and woman looking at a laptop screen


    .org is for any non-profit organization. Examples include PBS, the American Red Cross, and the Gates Foundation. Usually, these sites have credible information, but be careful with organizations that may portray specific points of view (bias) and may require a closer look. Use the questioning checklist above to determine if the site is credible and reliable.
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  • Finding your voice

    Sometimes it's difficult to find your own words when writing a paper. You may find yourself wanting to use other peoples words because they were able to express their ideas so much better than you. Learn how to avoid using other peoples words and ideas by finding your own voice.

    What is Plagiarism?

    The word itself comes from Latin, meaning 'to kidnap.'
    Plagiarism is presenting another person's ideas as if they were your own. Using someone else's ideas without crediting that person is unethical. Understanding what you can and cannot do when using someone else's words or ideas and giving them proper credit is important in university-level writing.

    Plagiarism is...

    • copying someone else's words without using quotation marks and crediting the source it came from;
    • paraphrasing or summarizing someone else's words without citing the source;
    • quoting someone inaccurately;
    • restating someone's original or specialized ideas without citing the source;
    • accidentally or intentionally misrepresenting someone else's words or ideas;
    • citing the wrong source; or
    • pretending someone else's work is your own.

    Note: Text is not the only thing that can be plagiarized. You must also give credit if using other people's images, graphics, charts, drawings, video, music, etc.

    What are the consequences of Plagiarism?

    Plagiarism is a very serious offense at BYU—Hawaii. The penalities for plagiarism can have major ramifications.
    A man looking at a Mac computer
    Photo by BYUH Library

    Depending on the degree of violation, a student who plagiarizes may:

    • Receive no credit for the plagiarized assignment
    • Receive no credit for the course
    • Be placed on probation
    • Be suspended or dismissed

    BYUH Academic Honesty

    If you are in doubt as to whether you are providing proper attribution, please see your instructor or one of the reference librarians for help
    BYU—H Librarians

    Good News! The university has arranged a premium account with Grammarly and RefWorks to all current BYU—H Students. Grammarly and RefWorks are wonderful tools you can use to help with your writing as well as a plagiarism checker. Follow the link at the library's homepage.
    Library Homepage

    What are things that do not need documentation?

    Person Writing On A Notebook Beside Macbook
    Photo by Pexels

    • Writing your own lived experiences, your own observations, and insights, your own thoughts, and your own conclusions.
    • Writing about common knowledge, such as folklores, myths, urban legends, etc. (in your own words).
    • Writing the results from your own research.
    • Using your own artwork, music, video, audio, digital photos, etc.
  • Cite a source

    You have your book and articles but unsure about how to write your references or bibliography? Here are some simple steps!

    Citing Books and Scholarly Articles

    1. Selecting the source

    From your "Search Results page," select the source (book, eBook, or article) you are interested in citing.

    A screenshot pointing to the title of an academic journal in the library database
    Photo by BYUH Library

    2. Cite

    Click on the title link and look for "Cite" in the top right part of the book/journal

    Screenshot pointing the cite button in EBSCO
    Photo by BYUH Library

    3. Choose APA or MLA

    Under "Citation Format" scroll down to the formatting style that your teacher prefers. The most common are either APA or MLA.

    Screenshot showing the citation format window
    Photo by BYUH Library

    4. Copy and Paste

    Highlight the source, copy, and paste to the bibliography/reference section of your research paper.

    Screenshot showing the highlighted APA format citation
    Photo by BYUH Library