Research Tips – How to Find the Information You Need!

Research Tips – How to Find the Information You Need!

Research Tips – How to Find the Information You Need!
Photo by Ged Carroll

Research Tips – How to Find the Information You Need!

Need some research tips? How do you find the information you need quickly and efficiently? With so many things to do in a day, you might be putting off doing the research you've been wanting to do for that article you plan to write. When do you even find the time to do it?

There are many ways to find the information you need; some ways are more efficient than others.

Start with the internet. The internet is a huge database of information. You might not always find accurate information, as anyone can post information on a website, but it is a great starting point for you to gain some basic knowledge about the subject you're interested in. Stick with websites created by universities and reputable organizations. The university websites will have web addresses ending in .edu. A government website (.gov) is also an option.

Check Google Books. Google Books is another great place to start. It allows you to sample selected pages of books before heading to the library or the bookstore.

Visit your local library. A good way to prepare for your library visit is to check its online catalog for potential books. By looking through the databases, you'll know what the library has for the subjects that you're interested in. Be sure to write down the call numbers and the sections the books are located in. This will enable you to spend more time browsing for other books that you didn't locate online. If your library doesn't have what you're looking for, check the databases of other libraries and see if you can get an inter-library loan.

Ask your librarian for help or for ideas on related topics. This is one of the best research tips for writers. A librarian is a trained library specialist and will be able to help you locate specific topics and give you ideas on books. If you're looking for the best of the juvenile fiction, just ask your librarian and she will point you in the right direction.

Visit a university library. You'll need a membership in order to check out books, but universities carry a wide range of books and journals and they're worth a try. Check with the database and familiarize yourself with the layout of the library before you go. Also, be sure to write down the call numbers and the sections for the books you're interested in. That way you'll be able to go in there and get what you need quickly.

Join an online journal database. Online journal databases, although typically fee-based, connect you with a whole world of information and contain a variety of topics. Check with your local library to see if it offers patrons access to an online journal database.

Visit a bookstore. If the libraries don't carry what you're looking for, you might have to resort to buying a book on the topic you're interested in. This is the most convenient method of gaining information, as you'll have the book in your own personal library and you'll be able to turn back to it for information without any return deadlines or having to reacquire a book you just returned. If you plan to buy a lot of books, be sure to check out any discount or membership cards. Buying online is a great way to save money and time. Check Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

When you're short on time, finding the right books for research, let alone doing the research, can be a huge task, but if you go in with a mission and know exactly what you're looking for, you will be able to save time and effort for more important activities, like your writing. Follow these research tips and you'll be well on your way to getting the information you need.

Jody Calkins
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