Basic Steps in Library Research
Step 2: Use encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, textbooks, or other general works to provide background information, a readymade outline, expert authors and contextual parameters on a topic. See Reference Tools Research Guide for a description of the various types of reference works. See eReferences for access to softcopy reference books anytime anywhere. Access to eReference books is limited to the TMC community.
Step 3: To find books and audio/visual materials use the library’s catalog. Identify appropriate Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) for help in identifying related resources. Use the “Subject” search option.
Step 4: To find articles relating to your topic use periodical indexes (whether hard or softcopy) like Academic Search, ProQuest, FirstSearch and Readers' Guide (hardcopy). Links to TMC periodical indexes are accessed from the Find Articles page on the library Web site. See the "Finding Articles" research guide for more details.
Step 5: USE SOURCES TO FIND OTHER SOURCES. This is the key to doing efficient and effective research. Bibliographies, subject headings, authors, call numbers and cited references from each resource found can be used to find more sources. For example use the bibliographies found in encyclopedia articles as a beginning source for both book titles and expert authors. Use the Subject Heading found with each item in the library catalog to search for other items with the same subject. Use the cited references in articles to find more articles, books, etc.
Step 6: Evaluate all resources for relevancy to your information need. Consider the purpose of the material; the authority and expertise of the source (author/producer); the accuracy, comprehensiveness and currency of the content. See Evaluating Resources research guide for more help.
Step 7: Librarians are your friends. Introduce yourself to the Reference Librarian and don't be afraid to ask for help. There is no special grace granted to those who struggle needlessly.
Additional Research Guides:
· From Cite to Hand - Books – how to actually obtain books and other materials whether or not the library owns them.
· From Cite to Hand - Articles – how to actually obtain magazine and journal articles whether or not the library owns them.
· Identifying Scholarly Books – clues for distinguishing scholarly books.
· Identifying Scholarly Periodicals- clues for distinguishing between magazines, journals and peer reviewed journals.
· Evaluating Resources – easy way to help evaluate the usefulness of research resources both paper and electronic.
· Research Worksheet – designed to make research simpler by working step by step through the research process.
· Copyright for Higher Education– help in understanding the copyright law as it pertains to faculty and students.
© Janet Tillman/The Master’s College, 2004-2010, permission is granted for non-profit educational use; any reproduction or modification should include this statement.
Last Updated July, 2010.