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Library Research - The Process: "How to Research"

The Research Process

The best academic advice you may ever receive is

Ask a librarian for help!!! 

Our job is to help you become information competent and succeed both as college researchers and as informed, involved citizens. 

If we look busy or cranky it's because we're doing other tasks that aren't nearly as much fun as finding stuff out! We love the chase.  Ask us!! We are here to help you.

RESEARCH—the hardest part is getting started

Keep in mind that research is a circular process. Or maybe it's back and forth, definitely up and down! You learn as you go—at ALL levels—about the jargon, the issues, persons in the field—and you'll sometimes change your direction and your mind as you poke about and decide what's relevant or interesting. BUT--if you think "There's nothing on this topic!" ASK a librarian for help. You may have gotten lost in the information wilderness. 

Here's maybe the second most important piece of academic advice:

When you do find information, copy or note the citation info as you go. That is, write down titles, authors, call numbers, page numbers, databases used, and/or URLs. Librarians have a hard time finding that fantastic book you were using if all you know is that it was blue. Oh, and it was big. 


Now, pretend your brain is a microscope and move your focus in and out… Use the tabs in this guide to find sources that give you topic overviews, detail, historical viewpoints or current issues and events.