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IRW 085/095 Library Tutorial: Research Tips

Search the MCTC Library databases for your research assignments!

Watch this YouTube video produced by Yavapai College to learn about why you should search library databases for class research assignments.

This is better than Google!

Discover books, journal articles, and more . . .

The Library Search Box provides you with access to many full-text electronic resources such as scholarly journal and magazine articles, newspaper articles and e-books. Primo also serves as the library catalog for MCTC Libraries and allows you to find print books, DVDs and other materials available within our campus libraries. You can search the library resources 24/7 on any computer or device with Internet access to find a host of scholarly resources to use for you class assignments!* 

*For more information about accessing full-text electronic articles, e-books, videos and more, visit the "Off Campus Access Instructions".

Why use the library materials instead of Googling?

The Internet is a useful resource for general, non-academic information. Sources like Wikipedia, YouTube and blogs are common places to find stuff that has not been reviewed or edited by experts for correctness or authenticity.

The Internet is easy to access free information at any time but it should not the first place you should go to do research.

While you may find credible information on websites published by the government (.gov websites), educational institutions (.edu websites) or certain organizations (.org websites), you should still be cautious of much of the information published online.

Organizational websites (.org) can contain biased or subjective information and should be examined carefully.

Below are a few specific sites to avoid using when doing research for class assignments.

  • Wikipedia can be updated instantly BY ANYONE, sources of that information may be questionable. Wikipedia can be useful for personal use and can also provide you with sources for more direct or authoritative information but again, is not the best place to do your research.  

  • YouTube shares videos created BY ANYONE, amateurs to professionals. How do you evaulate what is reputable or not?

  • Blogs are public places to share one's thoughts or opinions (biased) that by-pass normal publishing critiera and can be written BY ANYONE. Many blogs are written by people without any kind of credentials or authority.

College instructors want you to locate information that is accurate, objective, and timely. The library can provide the information your instructors expect you to research and use for assignments. The library provides you with access to authoritative information in print, non-print, and online.

If you need help, the library staff is available to help you find appropriate research materials.

Getting Real: The Emotional Side of Doing Research

The process of finding information can present many challenges and one of the most highly cited models for the information seeking process in library and information science is the Information Search Process (ISP), developed by Carol Collier Kuhlthau, Professor II Emerita for the Department of Library and Information Science, Rutgers University. According to Kuhlthau's research website, the process of gathering information can be an emotional journey, often guided by feelings, thoughts and actions. Kuhlthau's research states that information seekers may experience uncertainty, frustration, confusion, doubt and optimism throughout the process of gathering information.

While research can be overwhelming and frustrating at times, it can also be rewarding! Keep in mind the following when beginning a new research assignment:

  • Don't wait until the last minute to start your paper or project!
  • Be realistic. Don't expect your research paper or project to be effortless! The research process does take some thought and time and you may need to change your strategy or even your topic.
  • If you have the choice of a topic, you may consider chosing one that you feel passionate or angry about.
  • Make sure you understand what you are expected to do in completing the assignment.
  • Develop a strategy to complete the assignment but be prepared to adjust this strategy as you encounter challenges.
  • Don't go to Google or Wikipedia immediately! The library provides access to many authoritative sources and tools that you should use first.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help! Librarians can help you find appropriate resources for your research assignment and we want you to ask! Your success is our priority.