Research Services will assist in finding high quality academic materials to use in research papers and projects. Research Services cannot do your research for you, but we can make the task easier for you.
Stop by the Research Services desk for assistance, visit our Research Help page, or use the Contact Us page for additional ways to contact the Research department.
How do I choose a topic?
- First, choose a topic that interests you within the assignment framework given by your instructor. The whole research process will go smoother if you are interest in the topic.
You may want to look at current events (newspapers, magazines). Research Resources under the Personal and Professional Resources
header offers several places you can look for current issues and controversies. You may find a topic that interests you in your textbook. You may also want to look at professional organizations related to your class or major and see if they list topics.
I cannot locate anything on my topic when I search Primo. What can I do?
- Library databases and Primo do not search like web search engines like Yahoo and Google. You cannot type your research question into the search box. Instead break your question down into its most basic keywords. Be specific without being too specific.
What do I need to know to when researching besides my topic?
- Look at your assignment. Locate information about the type of sources are required (books, web sites, peer reviewed articles, etc) and number required. Also see if you are to use a certain citation style (MLA, APA, ASA, CBE). The citation style will determine how you cite material in your bibliography and in the text of your paper. If no style is listed in your assignment, ask your professor.
I cannot find information on my topic.
- Contact the Research Services. Research Services can assist in locating resources for your project. You can see in person, email, email, chat or webex with us.
How do I cite my sources?
- Check our our Citation Guides. First you need to know what citation style you are required to use. Unless otherwise noted by your professor, use the latest edition of the style (currently APA 7th and MLA 9th). Current print style guides are located in Ready Reference, but they cannot be checked out. The Online Writing Lab at Purdue provides information in APA, MLA and Chicago styles. Most handbooks for English Composition (ENG 1050 and ENG 1060) contain sections on these styles as well
Don’t most databases provide a citation?
- Yes, however you will need to review the citation to be sure is formatted correctly and be sure it is the right style and edition. The most common errors with database citations are capitalization and italics.
The book I want to use is not available electronically. Can you scan it ?
- Copyright laws prevent scanning of whole books. You can request a scan of a chapter if you are a totally online student.
I have a call number, but I cannot locate the book.
I tried contacting the library late last night and got a recording, how do I get help?
- Email the reference desk. Your request will be answered as soon as possible the next business day.
My professor said I cannot use any websites, how do I look for information?
- Resources found via Primo or the library’s electronic resources page, are not like sources you may find doing a search with Google or another search engine. The Library has paid for the access to these resources and they are not free websites. Most of the items accessed through the library have a print equivalent.
Where are your textbooks located?
Professors may put textbooks on course reserve, but the library does not purchase textbooks.