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Social Sciences Databases Tutorial

This guide offers directions and a lesson plan for using the Social Sciences Databases Tutoiral

If this tutorial will be assigned as part of your course: 

Work through the tutorial yourself so you know what students will encounter.   

  • Note any problems or frustration or triumphs you experience as a possible in-class discussion point for later.  

  • The tutorial should take 30-60 minutes to complete. It has to be done all in one sitting.  Please read and understand the limitations of the software.  This information is on the introductory slide as well. 

The tutorial is designed to be a stand-alone homework experience.   

  • At the end, students receive two e-mails: a certificate which will be evidence of completion, and a list of their answers. Require students to forward both of these to you to get a grade.

Work with your librarian to decide if this will be graded. 

  • Grades should be at least Pass/Fail and be assigned a meaningful number of points toward the final grade.  It’s up to you whether you want to have a finer grade scale for the tutorial.  

  • Seeing your students' answers will allow you to insure they typed reasoned responses rather than gibberish.  

    • Tutorial answers, if you want to study them, can give you insights into students’ skills, learning, and misunderstandings. You may be able to use this information to plan more in-class work that addresses problems or questions you see.  

Assign the tutorial at an appropriate place in the semester.  

  • Tie the tutorial to another graded assignment, such as turning in a preliminary bibliography, or the final version of the research proposal. The tutorial is not busy work; it helps students gain a skill that is immediately put to use in the assignment due a few days later. 

  •  Clarify that learning to do research in subject databases is an important skill needed for success on this assignment and in the field.

Extending the lesson plan:

  • After students have completed the tutorial, take some time in class to discuss students’ experience with and questions about the tutorial content.  
  • Talk to your subject librarian about adding an in-class workshop tied to this tutorial, depending on the librarian's schedule.  
  • Remind students they can always contact a librarian for help!  --   And you can too. 



We would be pleased to hear from you about how well this worked for you and your students. Please contact your subject librarian with any feedback to help us improve.  

Subjects: Social Sciences