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.
    • Reference Help: The Main Library is open day and night (except Friday and Saturday nights) during Fall and Spring semesters. That means there's always a reference specialist that you can call, contact virtually, or talk to in person that can help you with your information or technology problem. Don't get frustrated: Ask for help!
    • Free Document Delivery: We'll scan any article or book chapter in our collection and send it to your email within 24 hours!
    • Free interlibrary loan: Articles requested through interlibrary loan take an average of 3 days (many much faster); books average 11 days (but many take less than a week).
  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: December 15, 2015