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University Library

LIBS 320 Elective Seminar

Getting Started with Your Research

You probably have some experience writing research papers for other classes. You have probably used the library to find books and articles. We're going to dive a little deeper and look at some subject databases, talk about some advanced searching techniques, and look closely at a scholarly article to see how researchers build on the work of others and how they incorporate sources into their writing.

When starting on a new project, you may have a general idea of what you want to learn and write about. The first step to see what other people have to say about your topic. If the topic is really new to you, you might want to start with reference sources.

Reference Sources

Reference sources are materials that give you background information and context for your topic. Wikipedia is an example of a reference source: it provides basic, factually information that can establish a foundation for your research. You generally don't cite reference sources in your papers, but they can be extremely helpful when you're learning about something new.

There are a number of reference sources available from the library that are more reliable then Wikipedia and that are often subject specific.

Very Short Introductions

The library has a collection of books that provide brief introductions to a number of topics. These are great for helping you understand a new idea or topic and for helping you brainstorm a more specific area for your research.

You can search this collection of over 500 books in OneSearch by selecting Very Short Introductions from the search scope drop down or using the link below.