Welcome! Use this guide to gain confidence and skill in library research.
Jump into research and skip the usual beginners' mistakes by looking at the suggestions for research process. Master basic search tools like Esearch or other tools by choosing the "how to" boxes throughout this guide.
No guide can cover all your questions, so reinforce your confidence by learning how and where you can get more help from the Library.
Success tip: don’t just read the assignment, analyze it!
Professors expect students to follow directions carefully, but what do they actually mean by those directions? Figure out what an assignment is really asking, and you have the key to a successful paper.
Choosing a topic is easy for experts, because they are already involved in the problems and ideas of their discipline. It is more difficult for beginners. Take the time to select a topic! Many students will say that the biggest mistake they made in a paper assignment was to settle on a topic too quickly.
How to choose a topic:
Once you have some general ideas, it is time to focus. In order to write a coherent paper, you must focus or sharpen your topic by exploring different aspects and problems, or by addressing a question.
How to focus:
Even when you have focused your topic, you are still not quite done with this phase. Now it's time to make sure you have something that is not too general and also not too narrow.
How to check the focus:
Only when you have focused are you ready to start exploring and searching for information with your questions in mind.
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