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Introduction to Research: Getting Started

This guide is a tutorial to help students learn the basics of library research

Where to Start...

For background information, start in Google but don't stay there.undefined

The library database, Credo Reference Online will naturally narrow your search, improve your research, increase your comfort in academic research and support your critical thinking.    Credo is our academic Google!      Try the Mirror Effect




air pollution    (How many of these sites can pass the CRAAP test?)                                  


air pollution

Assignment Scheduler

Focusing on a Topic

Putting your topic in the form of a question will help you focus on what type of information you want to collect:  who, what, where, why and how.

Before you start searching, try focusing your topic by writing a one sentence research question. You may also narrow your search by use  limiters.  You may limit:

by geographic area:

Example: What environmental issues are most important in the Southwestern United States?

by culture:

Example: How does the environment fit into the Navajo world view?

by time frame:

Example: What are the most prominent environmental issues of the last 10 years?

by discipline:

Example: How does environmental awareness effect business practices today?

by population group:

Example: What are the effects of air pollution on senior citizens?


Key Databases

As an interdisciplinary researcher, when trying to find scholarly articles you should consider how the questions you want to answer have been approached by existing disciplines such as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, literary studies, ethics and policy studies, film and media studies, etc. Thus an important starting point should be subject-specific databases.

Need an overview?  Opposing Viewpoints in Context. (Air pollution control)


Hard to Find Topics

Remember that a topic may be too difficult to research if it is too:

  • locally confined - Topics this specific may only be covered in local newspapers and not in scholarly articles.

Example: What sources of pollution affect the City of Norfok water supply?

  • recent - If a topic is too recent, books or journal articles may not be available, but newspaper or magazine articles may. Also, websites related to the topic may or may not be available.
  • broadly interdisciplinary - You could be overwhelmed with superficial information.

Example: How can the environment contribute to the culture, politics and society of the Western United States?

Site Searches

Google Advanced Search Shortcuts

Use these two sites if you want authoritative information

Government Website Searches:

Educational Sites Searches:

PowerPoint Sites Searches:   transgender: .ppt


Where is My Article

If the article is in the database, you will see one of these icons below the citation. Just click on the icon to get to the article.. 


This button provides links from library databases to online full text articles, when available.  If an article isn't available online or in print, you may request it via ILLiad Interlibrary Loan.