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Choosing your research tools: Home

This information about how and what research tool to use will help you begin your research with confidence.

Beginning your research

So you have some research to do . A great way to start is by familiarizing yourself with the topic and subject area. Resources that will help you do that -- and maybe even help you refine your topic-- include encyclopedias or other reference sources like the ones listed below.. It will be easier to come up with effective search terms when you have a better understanding of your topic of interest. 

  • Don't be shy about using Wikipedia -- we all do it. The important thing to remember is that this online encyclopedia is only a STARTING place and should never be a source of scholarly information. You can use it to discover ideas and links to additional resources -- but never cite it as a source in your papers! This rule exists because Wikipedia entries can be edited at any time, by anyone, and so its accuracy can never be relied upon at any given moment.

 

  • When you have a general idea of a research topic, but you still need to narrow it down, you will find a good overview, along with background information about your topic, in encyclopedias and other reference sources... they are a great starting point. Sometimes you'll find statistics, definitions and lists of resources there-- which can help you build a better search. A couple of examples of scholarly encyclopedias and reference sources that Drew Library offers include:

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