I believed this would be beneficial for people researching for school papers, in college, for writing, and so on. This guide is mainly directed towards people who can access a College or University’s library systems because that is what I am most familiar with. However, this should help other people in a few places.
The basic steps of research are:
- choose a topic
- narrow your focus within that topic
- choose your thesis (if your thesis was not given as part of your assignment)
When you have a subject to research, then you can begin.
The above images describe how to run an efficient google search, and how to read Library of Congress system call numbers. When attempting to find a book within a research or university library in the United States, knowing the general set-up of the LOC system is invaluable.
When in doubt: Ask a Librarian. Having worked within a Library’s special collections & archives, I’ve both helped people find some pretty obscure things, and asked other librarians for help on equally obscure research. Librarians are trained to be able to help people research, find, and retrieve information. Their degrees are library and information sciences — and many academic librarians are specialized. They are familiar with things you may not be — finding things on microfilm, or special collections works, finding obscure keywords, running a variety of database searches, etc.
If something cannot be found through your institution’s library, check the ILL (Interlibrary Loan - info here)
This is an incomplete guide, but a nice starting point.