This Guide is designed to be an easy introduction to both library and online sources for geography researchers at Ohio University. It is not the be-all and end-all of sites--but it is a good starting point.
In order to do successful research, you need to have some general understanding of HOW to search and WHERE to search for information. These two guides provide you with an introduction to these processes:
Top Ten Things to Know about Finding Information
10. Don’t wait till the last moment to start your research!
Research is long and quarters are short: if we don’t have something you need, we can probably get it for you elsewhere, but not instantly.
9. Research is a word game.
Try various techniques to improve the accuracy of your searches: use AND and OR to combine groups of search terms, truncation (wild card searching), phrase searching, search limiters, etc. Use Search Strategy Builder to help construct good searches.
8. Google doesn’t have everything.
Hard to imagine, but Google only provides access to a fraction of 1% of what’s “out there” on the web. Learn to use other tools to find information that’s “invisible” to Google.
7. Use Advanced Search features.
Many databases include “Advanced Searching.” By using it, you can quickly and easily improve the accuracy of your searches—and have fewer but higher quality search results.
6. A lot of things aren’t online at all.
Alden Library alone—to say nothing of other libraries in Ohio and elsewhere—has millions of books, articles, documents, videos, etc. that aren’t online. Anywhere. Visit us; we’ll help you find ‘em.
5. Use Wikipedia—and other encyclopedias—carefully.
Encyclopedias can be great places to get beginning background info, and for references to major books, articles, etc. on a topic. But they’re usually not something you can use as one of your sources for a paper or other project.
4. Evaluate! Evaluate! Evaluate!
Don’t believe everything you read. Or see. Or hear. It’s up to you to determine if the information you are using is reliable or not. Librarians can help with this, too!
3. Research is not a straight line.
It's a process, a spiral, an evolution. One piece of new info can take you back to places you've already been. You may need to change course, even reverse direction from time to time.
2. Find more sources than you think you’ll need.
Some sources that you’ll find just won’t work for your research needs. But, if you collect “extra” sources at the beginning, you probably won’t have to backtrack and re-do your searches later.
1. Ask a Librarian!
Don’t let the frustration level build up too much before you ask for help: In person. Online chat. Phone. Email. Skype. Instant messaging. Make an appointment. Ask us!