Research Rules to Live By


  1. Don't re-invent the wheel: use others' work to fuel your own research
  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 (article, book, etc.), don't give up on it!
    • If you don't know where to look, or are coming up empty, contact the library!
      • Any time the library is open (which is nearly 24/7), a reference specialist is available to help you in person (at the Information Commons Help Desk), virtually (through our chat and email reference service), or on the phone at 621-6442.
      • You may also request to meet with a librarian regarding your research.
    • If you determine that we do not own the item you need, request it using our Interlibrary Loan service. 
  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: April 7, 2016