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Where should I begin my research?

Last Updated: Jul 23, 2017  |  141 Views
Topics: Research

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The first thing you must do is to decide on a topic for your research. The next step would be to determine what words or search terms might yield results that are relevant to your topic. It is a good idea to "brainstorm" and develop a short list of search terms. See Library Research Strategy.

Start your search by searching for books in the Leatherby Libraries Catalog. Here you will find both Reference books, which will be helpful in gaining a basic understanding of the subject area, and circulating books, which will provide further details about a chosen topic. Reference books may not be checked out, and can be used only in the Library, whereas circulating books can be checked out and taken home for further study. Some reference books are available online, allowing you access from any computer with your Chapman username and password. The Reference Librarian is available to help you with suggestions on how to effectively use the Leatherby Libraries Catalog.

After gaining a foundation of knowledge on your subject from the Leatherby Libraries Catalog, begin searching for periodical articles in some of the Electronic Resources online. There are several databases in each subject area, and most subject areas have at least one database that offers full-text periodical articles for you to print out. When comparing periodical indexes/databases to books, remember that the most current information comes from periodical articles and that in-depth coverage will come from books.

Remember to narrow your search with additional search terms when you retrieve too many articles, and to broaden your search by taking away search terms when you retrieve too few articles. Check our Boolean Searching explanation for a better understanding of how to narrow or broaden your searches or ask a Librarian! Reference Desk hours/phone.

Answered by Brett FisherBookmark and Share

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