Taking advantage of academic resources

Finding trustworthy information for homework, or those dreaded, endless research papers, can involve so much more than simply Googling—a fact that most college students do not know when they begin their freshman year. Of course Google is helpful and incredibly convenient; there is no denying that.

However, when it comes to learning about specific topics, it’s enormity can often leave a student feeling lost or overwhelmed. Whether you need to write about a narrow subject, can only cite certain source types, or simply aren’t sure of yourself, don’t panic! Your college can help.

Workshop classes

If you have absolutely no idea where to start, you are not alone. This is why most college libraries offer free instructional workshops about research. Find out what your school offers and attend a class.

You can attend a crash course about searching for your topic, finding new academic resources, and properly citing your materials. Even better, if there is any confusion at any point, your teacher will be there to answer any questions on the spot. All of these are essential to earn that A.

Online resources

If you know that your college has academic resources online—or just found this out in your workshop class—you should take total advantage of them. They are generally restricted to students only, so it is a unique opportunity! These sources usually include online research databases, scholarly journals, and E-Reserves. Make sure you familiarize yourself with each section and how to use them. These sources are often published by university presses, which add to their credibility.

College library

Yes, in person! Sometimes it can help to simply take your eyes off a screen and see your resources in front of you. If you love being prepared, search for relevant books on your library’s online catalog before you go, and write down a list of their call numbers.

Or you can search on a computer in the library itself. Then you can locate your books, familiarize yourself with the place, and take advantage of the quiet. If you are working with a study group, see if you can reserve a room in the library.

Off-campus libraries

If you still have not found exactly what you want, try using libraries in other places. Even if you can’t get there in person, you can still use their materials. Find out about your colleges’ policies on interlibrary loans. You could order journals, books, and more from other libraries around the world and have them delivered right to your campus library. Make sure they are return them on time.

Researching a topic always seems daunting at first. Do not put it off; the scope of information you will wade through will be huge. However, once you learn about all of these resources on your campus, it will become clear-cut and manageable. Stay informed and use all of the time and supplies that you have so that you can feel confident in your work.

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