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Do Your Research At The Library
A majority of college students using Google to do their research do so improperly, according to Illinois researchers. They found that students are unable to refine their results to better suit their research, and unable to produce results with reliable sources. The research comes from the Ethnographic Research In Illinois Academic Libraries Project, described on the website of the Ronald Williams Library at Northeastern Illinois University.
Fortunately, libraries and librarians can help students complete their research assignments. Libraries have access to an abundance of research material and highly skilled librarians can assist students find the right direction to complete their assignment satisfactorily.
To begin with, the Ronald Williams Library site provides useful basic advice for library research under the headings of
• Reading the Assignment
• Developing a Topic
• Searching for Information
• Choosing Your Sources, and
• Citing Sources
Begin With a Research Calculator
If you are not sure what part of your research you should do when, you can plot your project timeline using the Research Project Calculator from the Electronic Library for Minnesota.
For content, Great River Regional Library (GRRL) offers more than 60 online databases to help you find dependable information. They give you access to the complete and authoritative text of thousands of magazines, journals, transcripts and content developed especially for the web. Many of these copyrighted resources cannot be found using popular Internet search engines, but they are accessible to GRRL cardholders from a home computer at any time of the day or night. If you are using a computer outside the library you may be prompted to enter your library barcode number and PIN (month and day of birth in four digits). Use library databases…
• When you need accurate, reliable information
• When you need auto repair information, literary criticism, historic images of Minnesota, and more than just current magazine or journal articles.
• When you need product evaluations from Consumer Reports.
• When you want to use the library from home 24/7.
• When you need more resources for your bibliography than Internet URLs.
You can search many of the library’s databases at once by clicking in the “Select All” box, or search them individually to focus and minimize your results. Library databases also have basic search and advanced search options. Using Advanced Search, the words AND, OR and NOT can be used to refine the search as they relate to title, author, keyword and further options.
Searching databases efficiently is an acquired skill. Librarians are trained to analyze the question and link it with search terms most likely to provide fruitful searches. Library patrons are encouraged to consult with staff about how to do their research. Ask a librarian if you are unsure how to verify the credibility of a website’s content, and recognize that if you need to find scholarly sources, the library's resources are the best ones to use.