Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

Using the Library

In research, we always want to relate our ideas and research findings to the ideas of other researchers and the results of their studies. University libraries accumulate these bodies of knowledge to facilitate the research of the university faculty and students. This website provides discussion of various strategies for using the library to answer questions critical to conducting research. We will also provide real-life examples, with actual output from library databases. This overview will help you to understand the process of library research and will familiarize you with some of the most commonly used library research tools. However, there is no substitute for practice. We have included some exercises at the end of this unit, although your own research papers can provide all of the practice that you need.

Today's modern library is much more than a place. The typical university library is a blend of space and cyberspace. Walking down the long rows of books no longer puts you in touch with the heart of the library. First, the rows of books are longer than ever before, and they are supplemented with journals, technical reports, and other resources. Increasingly, the resources are not on shelves, but rather accessible through your computer. 

It may be a while before books become a cyberspace staple, although companies like Google and Amazon are working on this reality right now. But journals in cyberspace are already a reality. Journals that have been published for 50 to 100 years in the traditional format are now available in electronic form in dozens of fields. New electronic journals are appearing that have never been published on paper. The costs of electronic publication are such that this trend will only accelerate in the coming years. On top of it all, the amount of information is exploding. Thousands of new books are published every single day. More than a 100,000 scholarly articles are published every month. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by such an information overload.

Surviving and prospering in today's modern library requires knowledge of how the library is organized and how to find the specific items that you need. That is not easy, because the library and its resources are constantly changing. Nevertheless, there is an organization to the library, and that organization is becoming increasingly more efficient and useful. The way one searches for information is being gradually standardized so that one can search virtually any database using the same procedures. This unit will familiarize you with current procedures, but you should expect things to keep changing. In this information age, those who can efficiently find and use information will be the ones who prosper.


Next Section

Return to the Library Research Main Menu