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Library Orientation: Where to look

Basic introduction to library resources


  • Ask an actual question: Starting with What, Where, Why, How, Who or When helps you focus your topic early on.
  • Think in terms of concepts: What is the effect of MINDFULNESS on ADDICTION gives you two concepts to look for immediatly.
  • Make mistakes: There is no single right way to find information. Try something. If it doesn't work, learn from it and try something else.
  • Get a friend in your corner: Librarians can lead you to the best places to look, help you think of search terms and show you techniques to save time and reduce frustration.

Start with your question

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Books, Articles or Other

There is no "One Size Fits All" answer to what the best format for information is. Each has advantages and disadvantages and there are exceptions to every point in the lists below.

Journal Articles:

  • Standard method of publishing research.
  • Generally focused and more detailed.
  • Often written for other experts in the field. (Note: We're not talking about general interest magazines here.)
  • May have gone through Peer-review, where other experts in that subject evaluate the article before publication.
  • found using research databases.


  • Often more inclusive and general.
  • May take longer to publish.
  • Often useful for background research
  • Edited books may have chapters writtne by individual authors.
  • Found using the library catalog.

More information is being made available on websites, blogs and other resources.

  • Be aware of the source and credibility of your information.
  • Notice how current the information seems.
  • What sources of information are used and are they cited?

Dan the Librarian

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Dan Gall
Subjects: Social Work