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UK 101/201: Academic Orientation

College-level research and scholarly articles: strategies for success.

Welcome!

This guide will help you get started in finding library resources.

Use the Ask Us service if you have questions about the library or doing library research.

 Ask Us icon

Getting Started with your Research

Some tips to get you started:

  • Understand your assignment.  What kind of information do you need?  Peer-reviewed journal articles, newspaper articles, books?
  • Know your deadlines.  It is so much easier to do your research early so that you will have plenty of time to write your paper.
  • Develop your topic.  Narrowing your broad idea to a specific question you want to research will save you much time and effort.
  • Brainstorm keywords.  Think about keywords related to each aspect of your topic to help in searching.

If you run into any trouble at any point in your research process, you can always Ask Us for help. 

Another advantage to starting your research early: you can schedule a consultation with a librarian. Librarians are here to help you navigate the many resources available to you, and a consultation is a great opportunity to make sure you are looking in the right places. Librarians are glad to help!

Developing a Research Topic

Once you have selected an initial topic, the next step is to develop research questions. To begin:

  • Write down what you already know or don't know about the topic.
  • Using the information you wrote down, develop questions you'd like to answer when doing your research.
    • Use probing questions such as why? how? what if? should?
    • Avoid questions that can be answered with yes or no.

The one minute video below provides more tips.

Developing Keywords

When you have a topic in mind, it's a good idea to start thinking about words you might use in your search for information related to your topic. The video and tips below provide more information.

Before you can begin searching for information in a print or online resource, you need to identify keywords related to your topic. Key terminology can be found easily by scanning:

  • Your initial research questions,
  • Encyclopedia and other articles used when conducting background research,
  • Bibliographies found at the end of books and articles.

If you are still struggling, then try these suggestions:

  • Use a thesaurus to identify synonyms.
  • Find pictures related to your topic, then describe the picture.
  • Brainstorm keywords with a librarian, your instructor, or a friend.

Start Your Research with InfoKat Discovery

InfoKat Discovery can be a good place to start your research, as you can search for all types of information there (articles, books, and much more).

If you click on Advanced Search search to the right of the search box, you can search InfoKat Discovery as the "Library Catalog." This will help you find library materials UK owns, such as books, videos, maps, music, and much more.

The InfoKat Discovery Guide is helpful for learning how to use this powerful tool.

This video provides a two minute overview for searching InfoKat DIscovery.

student using laptop