Take a deep breath. The best way to save time and be efficient with your research is to carefully think through your research steps.
Have you already found at least one helpful source on your topic?
- Go back to the source and see if it leads to other sources you might use (check for footnotes, endnotes, or a bibliography).
- If your source is available in a database, look at the subject headings in the record. Clicking on each subject heading will bring up a list of related sources.
Does your topic fall within a particular subject area?
- Start with the resources provided within that subject area on the Research Guides Page.
- Each research guide contains links to reference sources, books, and articles.
- Use the search limits within each subject database to narrow your results down to the publication date, publication type, language, etc., that you need.
Have you searched multiple databases without success?
- You may need some new keywords. Try an encyclopedia source like Gale Virtual Reference Library. While encyclopedia soures are not normally cited in research papers, they can be a great place to find keywords. Many entries also contain sources for further reading on the topic.
- Your topic may be multidisciplinary - see if the Research Guides Page contains an additional subject area that covers your topic.
Still running into a research wall?
- Think about who else would be interested enough in the same topic and would have already written about it. For instance, a professor or scholar researching the topic would probably write a book or scholarly article. If a journalist wrote about the topic, it would be available as a newspaper or magazine article. Make sure the database you are searching contains the appropriate type of resources for your topic.