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Library Search Strategies

What is research?

Research is simply the process of finding information. The method is formalized here for those who must locate a LOT of information.

The process in the library...

Here is the process, step by step:

  1. Define your subject
  2. Look up subject in Encyclopedias, both general and special.
    • Refine def. of subject.
    • Make note of terminology.
    • Take notes.
    • Write down any references which look good.
  3. Look up subject in print indexes.
    • Refine def. of subject. Narrow subject if possible.
    • Make list of KEY WORDS and SEARCH TERMS.
    • Note all citations worth looking up.
    • Locate all citation sources; take notes.
    • Read the bibliographies and write down any good looking references.
    • Look up the references and take notes.
  4. Locate books on your subject, or books which will cover your subject in the process of covering their larger subject.
    • Look up each book and take notes.
    • Write down all references and look them up.
  5. Look up subject in electronic indexes.
    • Try all the key words and search terms you have collected.
    • Try a large number of search engines.
    • Note all good looking citations. Copy all good abstracts.
    • Locate the materials. Read and Take notes.
    • Each article found, read through the bibliography for more references.
  6. Cycling... Look up references in books and articles, then look up their references, then look up their references... You will learn two important things:
    1. If your subject is narrow enough;
    2. Everyone who writes on your subject with any frequency.

Categories of sources used in doing research:

Advantages of using a computer in doing research:

NEXT: The Organization of Information

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Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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