This page was created to give students and other library users a general overview of how to conduct research in the library. To start, take a look at Library Terminology, a guide which defines words such as Boolean operators, microfiche, and truncation. You can also use the Research Calculator to help set up deadlines for your research and writing process.
The Online Library Catalog contains records for the various types of materials available in the library: books, videos and DVDs, music CDs, cassettes, computer CD-ROMs, maps and posters, and music scores. The catalog can also be used to determine which journals and magazines the library owns.
To find articles use the databases found on the Electronic Resources Page . Some databases have full-text articles, meaning that the whole article is available on the computer. Others give you the information to find the print copy of the article. This information is called a citation. You can determine if we have the journal or magazine the article is in by using Journal Finder or the Online Catalog.
There are a few databases that are frequently used. Academic Search Premier (user guide) is one such database that covers a wide variety of subject areas. There are many full text articles and images, but not everything is full text. Included are articles from scholarly journals, popular and trade magazines, and newspapers. The newspaper citations are often not full text. For full text newspaper articles, use Proquest Newspapers. Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe (online tutorials) also contains full-text news articles, as well as business and legal information. To see all the available databases, visit the Databases by Title page.
Once you've accessed the resources that will be most useful, you want to effectively search them. The electronic databases are computer programs, and you can't search for information in the same way you would ask a human a question. For instance, you wouldn't do a search on what influence Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel had on Nazi Germany's eugenics policies. Instead, you would pick a couple of key words, connect them with the word and, then perform your search. For the above topic, for example, my search would probably be something like: Michelangelo and "Sistine Chapel" and Nazi and eugenics . For more information on search techniques refer to the guide on Boolean searching.
If you need an article or book the library doesn't own, we can borrow it from another library. This is called Interlibrary Loan , and the service is free of charge to Methodist University students. Because these items have to be sent from another library, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get the materials, so don't wait until the night before a paper is due to start your research.