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Library Research Strategies

Ask a Librarian

Visit a librarian at the Reference Desk on the first floor of Ablah Library or contact a Subject Librarian to make an appointment. See the full schedule of library hours for the main library (Ablah) and for the Chemistry and Music branch libraries. Ablah Library hours are also available on an automated phone line: 316-978-3581.

Circulation Desk (Ablah Library)  316-978-3582
Reference Desk (Ablah Library)  316-978-3584
Music Library  316-978-3029
Chemistry Library  316-978-3764
Interlibrary Loan  316-978-3167

Email a librarian with your question.

Getting started with research

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You (and potentially several other group members) have been assigned a research project.  Where do you begin?  How do you begin?  How does one make conducting research as easy, and perhaps more importantly as unintimidating as possible?  How does one proceed methodically, and avoid a scattershot approach to researching?

If you've wrestled with these questions or others like them, you're not alone.  Unlike typing words into Google and finding information of varying quality, conducting research is not a process that is immediately intuitive -- most students have to learn how to understand, get used to, and then conduct university-level research.  The good news is that there is a methodological approach to conducting research at this level, and that this approach can be learned and then replicated across every course you take.  Furthermore, learning how to research helps you understand how to judge the quality of the information you find, and helps get you more authoritative resources than Google or other free Web search engines typically offer.

The tabs to the left help you understand the research process, and understand how the timeline of when information is published affects its value in informing your own research.  They offer assistance in developing a research topic (and honing it into a research question if that is what your coursework asks you to do), identifying search terms based upon that topic, and then direction in selecting search tools to use in conducting your research.

What types of sources will I find?

What types of sources are you likely to find when you search?  The answer depends on which resources you use to conduct your searches - databases will get you articles, the library catalog will get you books, the Web will get you websites, etc,  You can find links to these resources in the find background info, find articles, and find books and ebooks tabs in this guide's navigation menu.  What types of sources are best for your research project?  You can compare characteristics of different sources on the Types of sources tab under Evaluating information in the navigation menu.

Floor maps of the WSU University Libraries

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