Choose a topic that interests you
The more interesting the topic, the more enjoyable the research process will be. Be careful not to choose a topic so broad that your paper will lack focus. At the same time, be careful not to choose a topic so narrow that you will find it impossible to gather enough information to complete your research.
Formulate your thesis
After narrowing down your research topic, it is time to formulate a thesis / research question. Keep an open mind as you do your research; look for alternative points, not just facts that support your thesis.
QUICK TIP: Formulate an open-ended question - a question that can't be answered by yes or no.
Browse the reference section
The reference collection is a good place to look for background and introductory information. Most Subject guides within LibGuides contain a tab specific for reference material within the given topic. It is called Reference Resources. The books and media in Reference Resources contain summaries. Use the category list that accompanies the entry to find locate more narrow or broader books and media on the topic. Check out the Reference Resources under the Subject Guide.
Search for books using HELM
Start with a SUBJECT search. When you find one relevant book, click on the subject headings of that work to locate related books. Even if you find only one "good" book in the HELM online catalog don't give up, the bibliography may lead you to additional references.
QUICK TIP: Books and reference materials on similar topics will have similar call numbers.
Search for journal articles using Indexes & Databases
These provide references to specific articles published in journals and newspapers as well as book chapter, dissertations, and reports. Begin with the the A-Z Listing of Databases or select Health Databases from the subject listing of databases. To search for articles, use the Finding Articles and Keyword Searching guides to better understand what a journal is and how to effectively search in the databases.
Locate the full-text of journal articles
Most electronic databases include full text articles on the topic you are searching for. When performing a search, in order to be sure that your results include Full Text articles, make sure you perform a Advanced Search, and check off "Limit to documents with Full Text". Each database is unique, but for the most part these parameters will ensure that you are retrieving documents with full text. If you have any questions, or are unsure how to go about limiting the search to full text, Ask a Librarian is available to help, and a reference person is on staff while we are open to answer any questions you might have.
Request materials not owned by the library
If material is not available at Bristol Community College, you can borrow it from another library. A valid AccessBCC card will be needed when requesting material from Inter-library Loan.
QUICK TIP: Start early to ensure adequate time for delivery of Inter-library Loan materials.
Search the web
Relevant information is available on the web. Use the information you find on the Internet to supplement your library research. The Evaluating Information Checklist will help you determine if a site, as well as the information provided, is reliable.
Cite your sources
Cite all your sources and attribute all ideas, not your own, to their proper owner. The Library & Learning Commons Resources online Citation Guide can help you format your reference list.