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Library Research Process

This guide provides introductory information and tips on the research process.

Presearch starts with what you know...

Gather what you know about your topic, but don't rely on it yet.  a pile of books, magazines and notes on a table.

  • Books
  • Web pages
  • Magazine articles
  • Textbooks
  • What your Mom told you

Bring them along, We have to figure out if they are any good. 

Background Information

Start with sources you know 

-- such as Wikipedia or Google. Look for background information, and track additional words to use when you search other places.wikipedia logogoogle logo

(But remember, you cannot use Wikipedia as a source in college papers.) 

Next stop: subject-specific encyclopedias

What kind of encyclopedia might have info on my topic? 

My Topic

This Sort of Encyclopedia

Montessori Schooling Encyclopedia of Education
The Republican Party Political Science Encyclopedia
Isadora Duncan Biographies of Women in Dance


I can find these by searching ALICE like this: 

  • [my topic]
  • AND encyclop* 

Here's an example:

shows a search in alice catalog using soccer AND encyclop*

Gives me this list of 12 encyclopedias on sport topics, including: