Step-by-Step Guide on How to Find Stuff on Your Research Paper Topic
Collect Background Info
Inform yourself on your topic! You don’t need to become an expert but it helps to know the basics before looking for materials.
Nobody likes it but everyone uses it: Wikipedia. Use it to get an idea about the basic concepts of your topic and collect keywords.
Start with Books
Wait, why books? Nobody reads those anymore! Books can help you to get a better idea of your topic, contains lots of ideas, concepts, as well as keywords and a bibliography. It’s the best way to get your research started.
Use the Library Catalogue to find books. Trust me on this.
Tip: If finding books proves difficult, go to amazon.com, look what is available there and then see if the books you found on amazon are not in our library catalog. Then send request for this book on this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Use the Library's Online Research Guides
Check the online Library Guides for the most applicable databases - there's one for every subject/major on campus.
Use the databases listed within the guide to find articles on your topic.
If you prefer to see a listing of all of the databases you have access to as an LUMS student, go to the Articles & Databases listing.
Search the Library's Databases for Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Make sure you know how to access databases from off-campus.
Frequently adjust your keyword searches as you go along!
To find keywords, use what you know about the topic, check your class materials for clues or look in books.
Read the abstract of the article, not just the title; oftentimes what you are looking for is found in the abstract and/or body of the article but is not mentioned in the title.
After you have found some good articles (even if it is just one) check the references (usually at the end of the article). These references will very likely provide you with more papers and books very similar to the article(s) you found.
Sometimes you will find articles that are not directly available in our databases. You can still get the article free of charge with the use of Interlibrary Loan.
For the Advanced User: Google Scholar
Still not enough materials? Try Google Scholar
Web Discovery connects to all LUMS databases, eliminating the need to check each individual database for appropriate materials. Doing so works well when the "obvious" databases are not giving you the materials you need.
EndNote Web: a Web-based service designed to help students and researchers through the process of writing a research paper. Undergraduate students can organize their references for citing in papers. Professional researchers and graduate students can use EndNote Web as the perfect complement to EndNote and other desktop writing tools, as well as storing references between ISI Web of Knowledge search sessions.
Zotero: an easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways. It has the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references and the best parts of modern software and web applications (like iTunes and del.icio.us), such as the ability to interact, tag, and search in advanced ways. Zotero integrates tightly with online resources; it can sense when users are viewing a book, article, or other object on the web, and on many major research and library sites find and automatically save the full reference information for the item in the correct fields.
EasyBib (Write Smart): The free version of EasyBib formats citations in the latest edition of the MLA format (currently the 7th edition). To use EasyBib's APA formatting services, sign up for MyBib Pro by clicking here: https://www-secure.easybib.com/products/easybibpro.
KnightCite: an online citation generator service provided by the Hekman Library of Calvin College. This service simplifies the often tedious task of compiling an accurate bibliography in the appropriate style by formatting the given data on a source into a reliable citation, eliminating the need to memorize minute details of style for multiple kinds of sources. The service is provided free of charge by the college, and is available to members both within and outside of the Calvin community.
JabRef: an open source bibliography reference manager. The native file format used by JabRef is BibTeX, the standard LaTeX bibliography format. JabRef runs on the Java VM (version 1.5 or newer), and should work equally well on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
Son of Citation Machine: Professional researchers to properly credit the information that they use. Its primary goal is to make it so easy for student researchers to cite their information sources, that there is virtually no reason not to -- because the Information That Someone Else Wants To Use -- Will Be Yours!
refbase: This web database lets you manage your academic references online, and share them with your colleagues. Using this free web service you can upload your references and see what others are reading, the database currently features 24047 records, organize and group your references, and assign keywords to them, so it's easy to get back to a reference, generate a formatted list of citations for your academic paper or CV (as HTML, RTF, PDF, or LaTeX), export references to desktop reference managers (such as Endnote, or Reference Manager) or BibTeX, and import records from common bibliographic formats and online databases.