How do I get started doing library research?

Here are a few things to know that will help you understand how to do library research.

  1. The library has friendly, expert librarians who can help you come up with research strategies that work! Don't waste time stressing about research- get help from a pro. Find the librarian for your program or submit your question.     
  2. The library pays for access to many different databases. Most of our databases contain thousands or millions of articles from trustworthy journals, but some of our databases contain ebooks, news articles, streaming videos of documentary films, and even interactive professional learning tools. Check out our Databases A-Z page where you can search for databases by subject, discipline, and type:    
  3. The library also has an online library catalog, where you can search all of our physical materials and search nearly all of our database content at the same time. Because it searches everything at once, the library catalog is a great place to start your research: Using the All I-Share Library Search, you can even search for books and other physical items from other Illinois college and university libraries and request to borrow those items: You can learn more about borrowing from other libraries on our About the Library page on this topic:    
  4. Searching in the library catalog and our databases doesn't work the way search engines like Google do; searching library resources requires you to put your search together in particular ways to get good results. Here are some excellent short tutorials from McMaster Library that go over the how-to basics of doing library research: How Library Stuff Works: How to Choose Keywords How Library Stuff Works: Boolean Operators (AND OR NOT)  How Library Stuff Works: Boolean Modifiers "", *, ( )    
  5. Once you've done your search and have some results to review, you can narrow your results down using filters. You can find filter options on the right side of the screen in the library catalog, or on the left side in some databases. You can filter or limit your results to: only peer-reviewed or scholarly articles, by publication date range (ex: only articles published in the last ten years), and many other ways. Experiment with filtering your results to see what works best for your topic or assignment.  


  • Last Updated Jun 04, 2023
  • Views 28
  • Answered By Lily Morgan

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 1 0