Research Rules to Live By
- Don't re-invent 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 are your friends
- Don't do it alone: Use library services (ILL, Librarians, Reference desks, Chat, etc.)
- Google is good (but only to a point)
- Start broadly then limit thoughtfully
- Use Union lists: learn what is "out there"
- Don't avoid library catalogs
- Don't forget about print resources.
- Many electronic indexes only go back only 10 or 20 years. For in-depth research, you will often need to go back further.
- Check to see what the print equivalent of (or precursor to) an electronic index is. Does it go back farther than the electronic index? If so, consider using it.
- To see if an electronic index/database has a print equivalent, go to the All Databases page under "Search & Find > Articles & Databases" and click on the icon to the left of the database name. If there is a print equivalent, it should be listed here.
- However, there are still many significant indexes that are not available online. To locate them, first check the library's Subject Guide for your area. Then try searching the catalog .
- Enter "bibliography or index" in a search box and select "Subject" from the adjacent drop-down menu.
- Then either limit to "Serial" under "Format Type" or enter "periodicals" in another search box and select "Subject"
- Lastly, enter a keyword for your subject area in another box and click "Search."
- If you get too many results, you can try searching the keyword as a "Subject" or limiting to a particular language (choose from the drop-down menu under "Limit to").
- Remember that our library may not own everything you identify using indexes. Through Interlibrary Loan [ILL], however, you should be able to get almost anything you need, and get it quickly. Use it!
- 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 what looks to be 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 are an invaluable resource (for now and later)
Last modified: October 6, 2010