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ENGW 103/104

Searching for Books

Begin your research by gathering background information to get an overview of your topic. As you read your background information:

  • Jot down any terms of vocabulary that may be of interest for your research
  • Take note of any sources that may be useful in the bibliography
  • Look for a particular aspect of the topic or a way to narrow your research

Reference works, like encyclopedias or dictionaries, are a good place to look for background information. You can find more reference sources by typing words like "encyclopedia" or "dictionary" into the search bar below (or on the library's webpage). Below are some online encyclopedias that may be relevant to your paper.  

Books are useful for background information or an overview of the topic; of course, they can also provide in-depth discussion. When you find a book of interest, scan the table of contents and the introduction to see what sections are useful to you. You may wind up reading the whole book or just zeroing in on a chapter or two. 

Use this search bar above to search for books in Buswell's catalog. Once you find a book of interest, be sure to expand the description field and note the subject terms that pertain to your subject. 

Reference books in print have an "RR" call number. They are located in the Reading Room on the main floor of Buswell Library. RR books cannot be checked out. 

Wikipedia is an ok place to start your research. Often, the explanations are easy-to-understand, and, just like an academic encyclopedia, you may discover ways to narrow your topics. But Wikipedia is not a reliable source as there is no robust review system for the information, and anyone can add or remove information. 

Wikipedia does have one important use--you can often find other reliable sources in a Wikipedia entry. Look at the References section, and click on sources if hyperlinked or use Google Scholar to find a source if there is no link. ALWAYS read the original source to verify the accuracy of the information, and cite from the original source.