A Guide to Library Research:
How to Make the Best Use of Your Time
Julie Still, Reference Librarian
These tips will help the research process, whether for a paper or other projects, go a little quicker and a little more smoothly.
- START EARLY. Even if you are one of those people who do your best writing while composing at the keyboard the night before a project is due, start your research early. You can find out what resources are available and where they are.
- If you are researching a particular event, look for articles published in "anniversary" years, 5, 10, 20, 25 or 50 years afterwards. These articles are likely to include information on the significance of the event, and how public and scholarly opinion of the event have changed over time. They might also include useful bibliographies.
- If you have 2 or more research projects in a given semester see if you can connect them in some way. You can't turn the same project in to two difference classes, but you can use some of the same resources for different, but related papers.
- Make sure you understand the assignment, length, type of project or paper, citation format (for example, APA or MLA). This will avoid last minute scrambling on your part.
- If you find a source that is right on target for your topic, look carefully at the bibliography of that source. It could lead you to other, equally useful, sources on your topic.
- Make sure you are using the best indexes and reference books for your topic. Even though the General Science Index gave you great citations for your last paper, the Humanities Index might be better for the topic you are researching now. If you aren't sure which index or reference book to use, ask a reference librarian.