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Student Resources: How to Research

Welcome to the University Libraries! We have many services and resources to help you succeed.

Library 101

Using the library and finding resources can be confusing and overwhelming at first. This might be especially true if you are an online student! We created a Brightspace tutorial to help you get started with using the library and locating the resources you need to successfully complete your coursework.

Library 101

Research Tools

Can help you keep track of your sources, create bibliographies, and easily create in-text citations

Research Databases

Research Databases by Subject

Librarians Can Help

Need help finding and evaluating sources? Having trouble citing in MLA or APA? Schedule a Research Consultation for expert librarian assistance!

What is Research?

Research can be daunting, but knowing where to go and how to search can save you time and energy. Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What kind of information do I need? Facts, opinions, statistics, case studies, literary criticism, assessment instruments, legal cases/decisions, and reviews are just a few to consider. 
  • What types of sources do I need? Newspapers, magazines, journals, scholarly or peer-reviewed articles, government documents, electronic or print resources, microform, primary documents, e-books, traditional books, the Internet?
  • How current do my sources need to be? Primary documents that may be quite old or the most current research?
  • Where do I go for the best information on my topic? ZipSearch, the University Libraries catalog or other libraries (ILL), research databases, the Reference collection, government publications, or websites, etc.?

Academic vs. Scholarly Resources

What's the difference between academic, scholarly, peer-reviewed, and refereed journal articles? While those terms aren't fully interchangeable, they are all very similar. Academic or scholarly journals are published in every academic discipline. Articles in these journals are written by researchers, often experts, in their respective fields of study.

Peer-reviewed or refereed journals also contain articles by researchers and experts but before articles are published, they go through a read/review process. Here's how it works: I send my article to the American Journal of Journals to see if they'll publish it. They contact several people in my field and ask them to review my work and make recommendations to the editors as to whether they should accept or reject my article. Academic or scholarly journals may also be peer-reviewed or refereed journals but they might not so check carefully.