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Visual Literacy

This guide is an introduction to visual literacy.

What This Section is All About

Cycle IconIn this section, you will learn about conducting research using library resources and materials. You will learn how to choose a strong topic, develop an effective search strategy, choose Library resources, evaluate articles and books, and cite the materials you choose to use in your final paper or project.


If you have any questions about how to use the tool and resources included here, please contact your librarian.

The Research Process

Remember, it's a cycle... 

Thought Bubble Icon1. Think of a topic

Your topic may change as you conduct research.  Don't be afraid to revisit it!

Open Book Icon2. Develop your search strategy

Before you start searching in library resources, make sure you know what to search for, where, and how!

Online article icon3. Find resources and information

Locate scholarly articles and books on your topic.  Going through the Library to do this will make your life easier!

Check List Icon with two checks4. Evaluate 

Make sure the articles you find are: current, relevant to your topic, written by an expert author and for a scholarly audience, and written for the purpose of furthering the scholarly conversation (not for personal or financial gain).

Quotes Icon5.Cite it!

Determine how each article or book sheds new light on your topic.  What information do you learn from each resource that you didn't have before?

It's not a straight path...

Research is challenging.  You will likely have to repeat every step in the process multiple times.  Don't get discouraged if your first topic turns out to be too broad, or if your early searches don't turn up any information.  But by starting out with a plan, and keeping a Librarian on call, you can avoid frustration.


Getting Started: Visual Tools for Research

Take a moment to think about your research process. What does it look like? Do you typically start with big ideas (or keywords)? How do you draw connections among all of those big ideas (keywords)?

Visualization tools can help to make sense of the connections among different ideas, topics, and arguments. CCCC Library offers two visualization tools that may help as you identify a topic and search the library's resources. First, Credo Reference provides a concept map, which helps you to connect your topic with other concepts. This database provides access to reference or general information. This material is often easy to read and understand.

Second, Academic OneFile (Gale) helps you to narrow your broad ideas to more specific topics and concepts. This database provides access to academic articles, scholarly materials, and newspapers, including The New York Times.

Visual literacy skills are important here! Be sure to observe attentively. 

Take a look at the videos below to learn more about these visualization tools