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Library Essentials by Johnnie Gray: Questions to Ask

Intended as a basic introduction to library services, including searching databases and locating digital content.

Questions to ask yourself that will influence how you search:

Do I need to focus on primary sources rather than secondary?  Primary sources are excellent but lack an historical perspective.  Secondary sources may need to be looked at more critically.

Can I use books or encyclopedias?  Do I need to find more basic information about the topic before I search further?

Is the topic considered a current event and is it still being written about?  Some databases and books may be outdated.

Am I still developing my topic and will it change as I find more information on it?

Do I need scholarly/peer reviewed journal articles?  This would effect which databases and sources are used.

Is this a controversial topic?  Will multiple sources present the topic from different viewpoints?

Is bias a major issue with the topic?  Avoiding bias and representing all points of view are the hallmarks of good writing.

Will books make up the bulk of my research or will it be articles?  Does the library own these books or will I need to use interlibrary loan?

Do I have an argument to support or make a case for?  Can I still use articles that don’t necessarily support my case?

Can I find enough on my topic or am I searching for information the best way?  Maybe I need to talk to a reference librarian?

Have I asked a reference librarian for help researching the topic? – is there something that could help me even more than what I have so far?

Have I looked at the works cited/references of the material I have and is it helpful?  Does the Trible library have any of the referenced material?  Did I use Journal Finder?

Will I have to draw conclusions from the information I am gathering?  Should I ignore certain sources I am finding?

Do I need to visit the Writing Center for that extra bit of help?

Do I know which citation style I will be using?  This will effect how I write down citations.

How am I managing and recording the sources I have gathered?  Is there a method that works best for me?

Director of Media Services/ Head of Interlibrary Loan

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Johnnie Gray
Trible Library, Media Center, 2317D
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