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Libraries and Archives Orientation

Search and Discover

The Libraries provide access to many different types of materials: books, magazines, newspapers, videos, images, both in print and online and to subscription databases which contain resources not found on the open web.

Start your search for library materials in our 'Search & Discover' tool. The 'Books & More' tab under 'Search & Discover' is the #1 best way to see what we have in our collections because what you're looking for may be:

  • Online (e.g., e-books, databases)
  • Onsite (in various locations)
  • Offsite (at our offsite storage facility in Westchester)
  • Checked out by other users
  • Not owned by us and may be requested.

Research Help

Start Your Research Paper

STEP 1: Begin developing your research question.

  • Your first task is to identify something of interest to you that you can research. Chapter 3 of The Craft of Research can help you go from a topic to a research question. Speak to your instructor and a librarian if you need help.
  • Try this exercise: Creating a Research Question.

STEP 2: Determine what information is needed and where to find it. (Check out the 'Select the Best Information Source' box below)

  • Where will you find information about your topic? Books? Images? Videos? Newspaper articles? Statistical databases?
  • Is the information you need published and available through library materials? Some information can only be accessed directly from the original source. For example, blueprints can often only be obtained directly from the architect.
  • Use a subject-specific Research Guide for resource recommendations.

STEP 3: Brainstorm or do preliminary research to identify keywords that can be used to locate research material.

Create a mind map using or (or pen and paper) or use the search terms worksheet to help brainstorm keywords and concepts.

  • Search encyclopedias to find verifiable background information and bibliographies suggesting further sources. As a free encyclopedia that is edited by the public, Wikipedia cannot be completely relied on for accurate information and should never be cited in academic research. However, we can use it for basic background information and some entries have bibliographies with links to scholarly material that can be cited for your paper.
  • Search for books, articles, DVDs and more in the online catalog. Broad terms work best. If one keyword does not produce results, try another!
  • Search our databases. General research databases such as ProQuest Central contain current and historical articles on almost any topic. Search an e-book database like Ebook Central and discover what literature exists on your topic.
  • Search Google Books or Google Scholar. Google Scholar provides access to scholarly articles and conference papers, many of them available online as PDF files. If you open Google Scholar when logged into the online catalog or MyNewSchool, you'll also have access to journal articles that are part of for-pay databases (such as JSTOR). Do not pay to get the full text of any article. If you can't find the full text, Ask Us for help.