You dont have to spend your time looking through card catalogs and searching through thousands of shelved books. All the resources you need for a top-notch research paper can be found online. These simple steps can help you find books and articles without leaving your home:
Time Required: depends on depth of research
- Find out what online options your college offers. Many universities offer services such as Gale Group and EBSCOhost that provide students with databases of full text articles and other resources that can be used to write papers. For more information on such services see our article: College Level Research at Home.
- Go to Google Book Search (books.google.com). This service allows you to search for keywords in millions of pages of scanned library books. Type in keywords related to your subject and Google Book Search will take you directly to the pages you need. Study the material that interests you and write down any quotations you want to remember for your paper.
- Document your sources. Dont forget to give credit where credit is due. Any time you decide to use a quote or paraphrase a paragraph from a book you find in Google Book Search, cite it correctly. Copyright information is listed for each book and can be found by clicking the Copyright link on the left side of the screen.
- Go to Google Scholar (scholar.google.com). This site allows you to search for articles, dissertations, and other scholarly material by keyword. Again, type in the keywords related to your search. The engine will pull up material that may be of use to you. Not all of these resources are available online. However, many can be downloaded in .pdf format. Again, be sure to properly document your sources.
- Search Google News (news.google.com). If recent news articles could be of use in your paper, check out the thousands of news sources available through this service. In a single keyword search, Google News accesses thousands of news organizations such as the New York Times and CNN to find you the perfect quotes for your paper.
- Find out what style your research paper should be written in before you do the research. That way, you'll know what information to look for.
- Don't expect to find serious scholarly information by using a regular search engine.
- When citing information you find on Google's Book Search, cite it as a book, not a website.
What You Need
- computer with internet connection
- paper and pen
- research paper style guide (MLA, APA, etc.)