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Library DIY: Starting your research

Get answers to your library and research questions here


Here at Cedarville - and beyond - you will be presented with information needs:

  •    Your Bible professor may ask you to write a research paper on the Psalms
  •    Your economics professor may ask you to create a start-up business proposal
  •    Your supervisor may ask you to summarize the earnings of retail stores in Greene County

In any of these cases, you are given an information need or problem and it's up to you to find a solution.

Where do you begin? Think back on your day; how do you typically find information?

  •     You Google something or search Wikipedia
  •     You talk with friends or family
  •     You consult with professors
  •     You watch or listen to the news
  •     You check your phone

Websites such as Google and Wikipedia are fine when you are looking for an introduction to a topic. However - you shouldn't end your search there. Your professors expect you to find more academic and scholarly material to support your research.


Enter the library!

The Centennial Library has access to thousands of books and millions of items such as journal articles, newspapers, periodicals, and multimedia materials, between on-campus resources and those available through OhioLINK. We have access to materials relevant to every major on campus.

Getting started

You can often just type a question into Google and get thousands or millions of results. However, library resources are a bit different. Think keywords and subject terms, rather than sentences or phrases.



For example:

  • Has the implementation of the death penalty in Texas served as a crime deterrent?


You may also want to search on subject terms like...

  • capital punishment
  • executions
  • death row


Think of subject terms as synonyms. Knowing this will be a great help in any research that you do.

One thing to note: research is rarely a straightforward, A-to-Z process. Don't be discouraged if you have detours along the way.


The list below provides several tools that may help.

  • Start with OneSearch, CU Books & Media, or the library databases
  • Browse our research guides (LibGuides) - we have guides for every major on campus
  • Scan through reference books and encyclopedias that relate to your topic
  • Look at bibliographies and reference lists in books and articles for additional sources
  • Evaluate books, articles, and websites you find and ask questions. For example - Why did the author come to this conclusion? Do I need to change my thinking on this topic?
  • Ask a librarian or your professor for help!


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