11. College and University Libraries are big. College and university libraries support large numbers of students and majors and areas of study so they have lots of books and also lots of places to accommodate study. Do not let that intimidate you though, libraries are built for students and welcome students to use their spaces and resources.
10. Libraries are no longer absolutely quiet. Most college and university libraries have spaces for louder study and great places to study with friends or work on a group project. Quiet spaces are still available but there is often a mix of quiet and loud spaces in the library.
9. Research is a process. Research involves taking notes and looking in more than one place for information. This is true for everyone, not just beginners. Enjoy the process though, you never know what you will find.
8. Ask questions. Librarians and library staff are always happy to answer your questions - - whether it be about research or the library or just about campus life in general.
7. Become familiar with citations. A citation usually contains an author, title, date of publication and further information depending on the type of material (book, article from a journal or magazine, etc). You use citations to locate information and also create them when you are giving credit to the work of others.
6. Evaluation is very important! Evaluation will help you pick the best resources. Ask yourself who wrote this? What are their credentials? Does the author seem to be biased? Are there any errors in the information? Can you tell where the author gathered his or her information from?
5. Learn to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is serious business - - not giving credit to someone's else's words or ideas could result in a failing grade or even suspension from a college or university. Be careful and always give credit, consult a librarian or your institution's writing center to receive guidance on how to avoid plagiarism.
4. Get an early start. Research takes a lot of time, so start early to give yourself plenty of time to develop your topic (or have time to change your topic) and find the best sources to create the best paper or project possible.
3. Utilize the University Archives. Most universities and colleges have an Archives on or around campus that's dedicated to preserving the history of the university or college. These facilities contain historical documents and records pertaining to the university or college's history and alumni, and will generally allow for students to look at and use these documents for their own research. Be sure to contact the university or college's Archivist for more information!
2. Everything is not on Google. Unfortunately not all information is free and therefore everything is not on Google. The library pays for licensed information that you can find in the library's resources. This information in the library's resources is vetted by librarians and editors and is therefore more likely to be reliable and authoritative.
1. Information from scholarly books and journals are essential to college/university level research. Most professors will require that use scholarly books and articles from scholarly journals in your research. Characteristics of scholarly articles include authors who are professors or scholars in a specific field, a list of works cited at the end of the article and very specific subject matter.
Adapted from Kent State University Libraries, "10 Things First-Year Students Should Know About Using College Libraries".