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Library DIY

Self-help Guide for Navigating the Library

I am not sure where to search.

Deciding Where to Search 

What type(s) of sources might you need? 

Does your assignment recommend certain source types (e.g. peer-reviewed articles, newspaper articles, data, books, videos)? What role do sources play in the project? 

Depending on the topic, you might look for books, articles, media coverage, or other online sources.  If your topic is very new, there may not be many books or scholarly articles because scholarly works can have a long publication process. 

Who has written on/discussed your topic? 

A topic like "race relations in prisons" might be explored by scholars in sociology, law, criminal justice, public policy, psychology, or ethnic studies. Search by discipline or your academic field by using the databases and other library resources recommended in the Subject Guides.

Locating Sources

Books: Search the library catalog Library Search. For help finding books, visit Finding Books on Your Topic.

Articles: Academic Search Premier contains scholarly, popular, and professional journal articles from most disciplines. Or search most of our databases simultaneously through Library Search. These are often good places to start your research.

Subject-Specific Research: Browse the Subject Guides or Course Guides for more specialized resources. For more guidance look at Finding Peer-Reviewed Articles.

Primary Sources: See our guide to Finding Primary Sources

Newspaper Sources: Go to Finding Newspaper Articles.

Looking for data?  The Berntsen Library provides access to databases that contain statistics, e.g., Statistical Abstract of the U.S. Or search Google for data on your topic. Search for "[your topic] statistics" or "[your topic] data."

Still not sure where to search? Ask a Librarian!