This research guide is intended to help you with your graduate level coursework. This guide will help you locate materials in the library, format your dissertation, use library services, and find help in the library.
A Few Research Strategies
Identify language used for your topic by topic experts
Your list of results can be as useful as the articles and books themselves. While you’re scanning the results of your search, look for the specific words or phrases used to describe various aspects of your topic. Note new words on a pad of paper, and use those specific words or phrases to rework your search.
Find the subject headings, or controlled vocabulary, for your topic
Try a search using your search words. You can rework your search using the strategy above, but you may find that keyword searches can yield irrelevant results. One way around this is to review your result list of books or articles. Once you find a really good one, look for subject headings to quickly lead you to more relevant articles on your topic. Ask a librarian if you’re having trouble finding the subject headings.
Make use of citation chaining
Back in time:
Bibliography, hyperlinks, or footnotes
Look at what your article/report/page is citing, find those sources. Look at what that article/ report/page cites, find those sources, and so on.
Forward in time:
Google Scholar “cited by”
Find a key article in Google Scholar and click on “cited by” to see who has quoted that article since it was written.
Identify key experts
Do the names come up again and again? Do an author search to find everything that person has written.
Consider contacting experts
Ask specific questions about your topic for information that is not yet published. Follow their social media feeds or blog posts.
Identify key organizations
Look at the lead organizations for your issue, find everything they’ve published on your topic, monitor their publications, and identify their experts on staff. Follow their social media feeds or blog posts.
Leverage social media
Your field may use social media as a form of scholarly communication. Identify the accounts for experts in your field and the hashtags they use to discuss your topic.
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