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Distance Education Students

Assignment: First Steps

Develop a plan before you dive into your assignments.   We have lots of help to get you started.  See below for quick videos and links to in-depth guides on a variety of helpful topics. 

  • Library Research: is an in-depth guide that describes the research process and has tips and strategies for making the most of what the Library has to offer.
  • Getting Started on your Research: covers how to check that you understand your assignment, how to develop your topic and to judge the quality of the sources you find.
  • Time Management: has helpful plans for organizing your term, your week and even your day.
  • Assignment Calculator: "is a time management tool that breaks down research assignments into a series of manageable steps, while providing expert tips for success. Enter the assignment start date and due date to get planning!"

Video: The Publication Timeline

One of the keys to getting started with a term paper is understanding the publication timeline for scholarly research.   Why is it so hard to find scholarly material on current events?  How do you know if your topic is too broad or too narrow to research effectively?  Watch the following brief videos to learn more.

Now that you understand the publication timeline, and the challenges associated with researching current events, you can check out our video on Broad and Narrow Topics learn more about tweaking your topic so that it isn't too broad or too narrow to research effectively. 

Finding Sources

Follow the links below for more information on how to use the UBC library to find sources and resources for your research. 

Library Research Guide: A short video which explains how research guides connect you to the best sources of research on a topic-by-topic basis.

Summon: Guide to finding and using the Library's general search engine. Includes 2 quick videos explaining basic and advanced searching using the search box on the Library homepage.

The Library Catalogue: Basic Search video | Advanced Searching video.

For Journal Articles: online guide to finding articles with and without a citation.

For other materials - check out The Research Help Portal: with guides to finding specific material types such as newspapers, government publications, primary sources, maps and more.

Assessing Sources

Information sources vary wildly in terms of accuracy, currency, objectivity, depth & breadth of coverage and even the authors' qualifications. Judging the quality and suitability of your sources is a key part of the research process. The links below assist in source assessment process.

Critical Thinking: includes how to examine an author's arguments to "identify (his or her) feelings, beliefs and cultural/societal influences."

Evaluating Information Sources: explains how to critically analyze materials and to assess how appropriate they will be for your research. It also distinguishes between scholarly and popular sources, with examples and a quick check-list.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the foundation of university success. The following sources help to orient on what academic integrity is, why it is important, and how it is applied at UBC.

Academic Integrity & Plagiarism: covers "how to express original ideas, cite sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly." Includes an interactive tutorial.

Academic Honesty: part of the UBC Digital Tattoo website and covers the pitfalls of cheating in an online world.

Copyright at UBC: the official copyright website for UBC. Covers copyright guidelines and requirements for faculty, staff & students and includes an FAQ, resource guides and email support.

Citing: When, Why and How


Don't think of citing only as an end-of-the-assignment activity. Save yourself a lot of time and stress by tracking your sources as you encounter them.

  • How to Cite: and in-depth guide that covers the basics of citing and gives a brief overview of some of the most popular citation styles used at UBC.

For a brief video recap of the information covered in the How to Cite guide check out the following videos:

Now that you understand the principles of citing you may be wondering about the mechanics.  To learn more about the components of a citation check out the Elements of a Citation video and to learn more about how to find specific citing rules and interpret them check out the Using Style Guides video.