Getting Started with Library Research

Research needs and requirements vary with each assignment, project, or paper. Although there is no single “right” way to conduct research, certain methods and skills can make your research efforts more efficient and effective.

If you have questions or can’t find what you need, ask a librarian.

All research starts with a question.

  • Discuss your ideas with a librarian or with your professor.
  • Formulate a research question and identify keywords.
  • Search subject-focused encyclopedias, books, and journals to see what kind of information already exists on your topic. If you are having trouble finding information, you may need to change your search terms or ask for help.

Additional resources:

The Library is the top resource when it comes to locating and accessing research materials.

  • Use the library catalog to find materials such as books, music, videos, journals, and audio recordings in our collections.
  • Search databases to find articles, book chapters, and other sources within a specific subject area or discipline.
  • For materials the Library does not own, use Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan for quick and easy access.
  • Each library unit has unique collections and subject knowledge. See individual library websites for additional resources in specific subject areas.
  • Check out our library research guides for lists of resources curated by library staff. Browse by subject or find guides specific to course offerings.

When using a book, article, report, or website for your research, it is important to gauge how reliable the source is. Visit these research guides for more information:

When writing a research paper, it is important to cite the sources you used in a way that would enable a reader to easily find them.