1. Information literacy is among the most important skills you can develop in the Information Age. It includes critical thinking and using the best tool for the job -- whether physical or electronic.
2. Reference librarians can save you a ton of time and know more about research than you'll ever know. It just makes sense to use them as a resource. Find out what they can do for you. Or get to know one.
3. Academic sources are "musts" for academic work. Use articles from databases, books from reputable authors, web sites from credible organizations. Take the time to learn what our e-resources can do for you. And definitely attend our classes.
4. Public web sites found with Google can sometimes be a good resource, but you must work doubly hard to establish the trustworthiness of the source if you plan on using it in an academic paper. All sources need critical evaluation but web sites need them the most. Memorize the CARB formula so that the questions are second nature.
5. Good topics are mostly the result of cultivating interests and careful thinking ... but some starting points are better than others.
6. Finding a focus should normally take the first third of the time devoted to the research process. Many people use Wikipedia to orient themselves to an unfamiliar topic, but you shouldn't use it as a cited source in an academic paper.
7. Subject Encyclopedias can save you a lot of time in the long run. Use Reference Universe to locate reference book articles in the library that you'd otherwise miss.. Or talk to a reference librarian.
8. Basic research knowledge is a must. Use the library catalog to find books and videos, databases to find articles. Use a variety of source types. Academic Search Complete is often the best source for finding articles.
9. Effective search terms require careful thought and consistent practice. Understand that good search statements in web tools and library tools look very different. Learn the difference between subject headings and keywords.
10. Capturing information about your source and distinguishing quotations and paraphrases from your own ideas in a piece of writing are essential skills. Consider using NoodleTools (including notecards) to manage the process and create your Works Cited list.
Some Things You Can Do