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Use this guide to learn about the research process and plan your research project.

Welcome to the Research Planning Guide

Find Articles From our Databases

Choose a database by using the A-Z Databases list. You can choose article databases by their title, or search for databases by subject, type, or provider. Instructions for using the A-Z Databases list or the catalog can be found below.

Search method:

  • Look for Advanced Search options.
  • Start broad, then narrow your search down—think of a funnel!
    • Example: Start with "Higher Education." Too many results? In the next box, type "Adult Students."
  • Filter your search by "full text," "scholarly" (or "peer-reviewed") results, date restrictions, or other limitations.

If you're still stuck:

  • Make sure you're using the right database by hovering over the .  There are lots of specialized databases out there.  Use the Subject Search in the A-Z Databases list to discover which databases might work best for you.
  • Look for a Search Tips or Help link on the main search screen.
  • Ask a librarian—it's likely we have helped other students looking for the same topic in the past, and we know our way around the databases!

Evaluating your Resources

As you look through and read the information (articles, books, websites, etc.) that you have gathered, it is important to evaluate what you find.  Here are questions by which to evaluate the information you find:

  • Credibility - Who is the author of the material? What are the author's credentials? What else has the author written? Who is the publisher of the material?
  • Bias - Is the information presented in an objective manner? Are all sides of the issue presented? Does the author verify statements with facts and cite his/her sources?
  • Accuracy - Does the author cite all of her sources? Does the material include a description of the research methods used?
  • Currency - When was the material published? Does your topic require up-to-date information (i.e., is it a scientific or medical topic or is it about a current event)?
  • Relevance - Does the information add to the topic you are writing about, or is it peripheral to your discussion? Does the material provide references which will also be useful?