In this guide, you'll find info on resources and services in the library that you can use for ENGL101 and beyond! The tabs on the left will help you answer some broad questions you may have. There's lots to explore here, but if you have any more questions or suggestions, remember you can always visit or message your Student Learning Librarian, Amanda Matthysse (or choose from our list of research librarians with different subject specialties, like languages or sciences, here).
The most important thing to have as you start the research process is wonder - an attitude of curiosity and interest that makes you ask questions and desire answers. If you don't know where to start on your research question, think about what you are curious about, what problems concern you, or what you are passionate about - try making a list of topics, starting broad, and then start to narrow it down into a question that is appropriately focused, relevant/interesting, and open to debate.
Reference sources like encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, statistical reports provide short articles or entries of general information on a subject. They are a great place to start if you are not very familiar with your topic and need a general overview - they can also give you ideas of how to explore more, by explaining key concepts and questions in the field and listing sources for further reading. You can look through our print encyclopedias in the moveable stacks on the main floor, or you can also use our online reference databases, such as Gale Ebooks.
Library resources and the research process sometimes involves some unfamiliar terminology. Here are a few common terms and some brief definitions to refresh your understanding:
Reference sources - book type, compiles lots of general information on a topic (examples: encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, etc.)
Encyclopedias - a reference source, filled with short summaries on important terms, people, events, places, and issues of a specific subject
Call number - unique letter/number code found on the spine of every library item and in its catalog record, to help locate it on the shelf
Subject heading - library version of hashtags, labeling a book/article by its subjects, another way to search in the catalog and databases
Catalog - online records of everything in the library's collection (search for print books, DVDs, CDs, LPs, ebooks, journals, etc.)
Research librarian - (also called "liaison librarian") librarian assigned to a particular department or subject to help students do research
Research databases - huge online collections of articles from academic journals, can be interdisciplinary or subject-specific
Peer-reviewed - articles that have gone through a thorough review process by experts in the field, to verify that the information is legitimate
Full text - the complete article, not just a summary or citation (not all articles have full-text - FullText@Hekman button gives you access options)
Citation - shorthand note to record important details about where information came from, formatted according to different citation styles
References - list of citations, all the sources used in a study or presentation, found at the end (sometimes called "works cited" or "bibliography")