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FTS: Interfaith Encounters: Start

Starting Your Research

Sometimes one of the hardest parts of research is starting. It can be difficult to know what search terms to use, how to track down hard copies of sources, or even know which search tool to use. Use this guide for ideas on how to start your research, how to use the library, and what to do when you get stuck. The answer to the last question is easy - just ask! You can find my contact information underneath my picture (below). Email me, drop by during office hours, or schedule an appointment to talk about any issue you encounter with your research. Another great tool is the Quick Answers link, which gives answers to many library questions.

Library Hours

Our usual hours are 

M-Th 8am - 1am
F - 8am to 6pm
Sat - 10am - 6pm
Sun - 11am - 1am

They are shorter during J-term and breaks, longer during finals.

Gah! I need help!

Research is difficult and nobody expects you to know how to do it all on your own. Check with your teacher if you aren't sure how to approach your assignment or want a second opinion on sources and strategies.

Stop by the Writing Center at any point during the process for expert advice from your talented peers. The Advising Center can help with issues such as time management and organization.

In the library, visit the reference desk (located at the Information Desk right inside the front doors) and chat with a librarian on duty. If no librarian is there, take your question to the Information Desk. Our student workers are trained to answer basic reference questions and to help you connect with a librarian.

Use my contact information (on the right) to schedule a meeting with me - I'm happy to help with any and all of your research questions. Or if you just want to chat about your topic & create a strategy for searching, we can do that, too. 

Finding Books

To find books in our library, search the Library Catalog - you can also search directly via  the search box on the library's homepage.

When you find books that look useful, write down the Location & the Call Number

General Collection, A - PQ  are on the Third Floor 

General Collection, PR - Z are on the Second (Main) Floor

Oversize, A - Z are on the Third Floor

Reference, A - Z are on the Second (Main) Floor.

Once you are in the right area, signs on the sides of the shelves will direct you further. The system is a little tricky to figure out at first, so don't hesitate to ask for directions at the Circulation Desk or Reference Desk.

Browse the shelves when you find a useful book. Books are shelved according to topic, so chances are you'll find other relevant books nearby.

You can check books out at the Circulation Desk (front desk).

Finding Articles

We have a lot of databases. Your best bet for this class is to click on the Articles tab on the library's homepage, then choose "Academic Search Premier," the first database. You may also want to consult the "ATLA" database, which is the main database for Religion.

Once you've found some articles, you'll probably want to narrow down your results. You can always add additional terms to your search to narrow the focus. 

Also, on the left, you will see ways to refine your results by using the scroll bar to focus on recently-published articles or choosing types of articles.

  • Newspapers are good for very specific news items or recent events.
  • Magazine articles reflect a popular approach to issues and are often short and simple in style.
  • Articles in academic journals report on research and are sometimes quite long and complex. Concentrate on the abstract (a one-paragraph summary that sometimes is at the beginning of the article), the introduction, and the last paragraphs. 

When articles are not available as PDF or HTML files, there's a yellow "find it!" button that will search for the article in other databases or offer you a chance to get a copy from another library, a process that usually takes a day or two. Consult the Tracking Down Materials tab for more information. 

Librarian

Julie Gilbert's picture
Julie Gilbert
Contact:
I love meeting with students and faculty to talk about your research, including any issues you have - or even if you just want to brainstorm. There are lots of ways to reach me. Email me with questions, stop by the library, or use the link below to set up an appointment. (Click the blue bookmark to go directly to the site.) It's fast and easy to do: https://goo.gl/uw7mzH

You can find me at the reference desk on Mondays 2:30 - 4:30 and Wednesdays 1:00 - 2:30 (on call - ask for me at the front desk). I also have office hours on Tuesdays, 10:30 - 11:30 (ask for me at the front desk).
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