Whether you're just starting out or you're well into a project, research can sometimes feel overwhelming. Ease some of that stress by using these librarian-approved research tips to help get you started and become a more confident researcher.
- Use our Subject Research Guides to start your search. Our subject guides are curated by subject specialist librarians. Librarians create these guides to highlight the best starting places to find different types of information within a field. If you were starting a biodiversity project in an Environmental Studies course, you might want to take a look at the guide on the Environment. If you needed to find information on a certain industry for a business course, the Business Guide could point you in the right direction. Whatever field you’re working in, Subject Research Guides can provide you with a good starting place.
- Don’t be shy about getting help. Librarians are still available virtually to answer questions or meet with you 1:1! You can access the Ask a Librarian services through the “Help” link at the top of the Howe Library's website. There, you can contact our the Howe Reference Services for a quick response to a question or you can schedule a time to meet with a subject librarian for an in-depth discussion.
- Use one good source to find more. Sometimes all it takes is one good article or book to get you started. Remember to read carefully and highlight or make note of the other articles and books cited in the one you’re reading. You can easily find those cited articles or books by dropping the title into CatQuest to see if we own them. Google Scholar can also be a useful tool for extending your search – especially the “cited by” feature which will point you to other works that have cited the one you have in hand.
- Start your work with an “inquiry” mindset rather than an “evidence” mindset. The literature you find should help to inform and shape your topic. You will only encounter problems if you assume that you already know all about your topic and your research is simply a process of finding evidence. Instead, once you start exploring the research, you’ll likely find that there is more nuance and complexity to your topic than you had anticipated. By starting with an exploration of the literature to inform your research question, you’ll be able to create a better question and discuss it more easily in the writing process.
- Consider a citation manager to stay organized. Citation managers help you keep the information you find in one place, organize it however you like, and create citations in your paper and works cited pages extremely quickly. The UVM Libraries support Zotero, Endnote, and Mendeley; each has slightly different features and can be more or less popular in certain disciplines. If you’re someone that struggles with organization, these softwares can be a gamechanger.