Research Rules to Live By
This guide is primarily intended for upper-level undergraduates doing in-depth research, or for graduate students and faculty.
- Don't reinvent the wheel: Use others' work to fuel your own research.
- Let your feet (and fingers) do the walking: Physical browsing can be as good or better than electronic searching.
- Schedule for serendipity: Browsing the library stacks is one of the best ways to discover new resources.
- Get to know bibliographic records. They're your friends.
- Don't do it alone: Use library services (interlibrary loan, librarians, reference desks, chat, etc.).
- Google is good (but only to a point).
- Start broadly then limit thoughtfully.
- Use Union lists: Learn what's "out there."
- Don't avoid library catalogs.
- Don't forget about print resources.
- Learning about the history of research in the subject and the relevant scholars is as important as (and is part of) researching the subject.
- If you find a promising source, don't give up on it.
- Keep a good record of everything you look at (or at least everything you take notes from).
- Join academic listservs. They're an invaluable resource (for now and later).
Last modified: December 15, 2015