The following is a basic guide to the library research process:
Select a topic.
Find background information on this topic. Use an encyclopedia or other reference materials to gain a basic overview of the topic.
Make a list of keywords related to this topic.
Use the library catalog to search for books, government documents, videos, etc. on this topic. Perform keyword searches linking keywords with AND to narrow your search. Use a subject search for a broad topic.
Use the online databases to search for journal, magazine, and newspaper articles electronically.
Use print indexes to search for articles that are:
Older than those held electronically
Not indexed on an electronic database
Use the Internet to locate materials on the web.
Make sure that the instructor allows Internet sites to be utilized.
Make sure that you evaluate the quality of any resource found on the web.
When you find a source that you want to use, write down all of the information you will need to cite the source in your bibliography. The information you need depends upon the type of source used (book, newspaper, journal, website, etc.) Refer to the handbooks specific to the style required by your instructor.
MLA – MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Reference Desk LB 2369.G53 2003
APA – Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
Reference Desk BF 76.7.P83 2001