Research Rules to Live By

Research Rules to Live By


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  1. Don't re-invent the wheel: use others' work to fuel your own research
    • Use pre-existing subject bibliographies or indexes to find relevant sources.
      • In the UA Library catalog do a keyword search for "bibliography or indexes" as a Subject, and your topic either as a Subject or as Any Word.  Use a double asterisk ** to truncate.
    • Use indexes, footnotes/endnotes, & works cited from existing books or articles to locate other key resources on your topic. Locate these by searching for them in the library catalog, article databases, or Worldcat.  If you need help finding a resource, don't give up.  Seek assistance from our Ask a Librarian service or make an appointment to meet with a Librarian.
    • Identify & jot down key figures, movements and terms from existing scholarship to plug in as keywords in future searches.
  2. Let your feet (and fingers) do the walking: physical browsing can be as good or better than electronic searching
  3. Schedule for serendipity: browsing the library stacks is one of the best ways to discover new resources
  4. Get to know bibliographic records. They are your friends
  5. Don't do it alone: Use library services (ILL, Librarians, Reference desks, Chat, etc.)
  6. Google is good (but only to a point)
  7. Start broadly then limit thoughtfully
  8. Use Union lists: learn what is "out there"
  9. Don't avoid library catalogs
  10. Don't forget about print resources
  11. Learning about the history of research in the subject and the relevant scholars is as important as (and is part of) researching the subject
  12. If you find what looks to be a promising source, don't give up on it
  13. Keep a good record of everything you look at (or at least everything you take notes from)
  14. Join academic listservs They are an invaluable resource (for now and later)

 

Last modified: January 12, 2012