doing research for a paper

So you have a research paper due and you’re not sure where to begin. Don’t sweat it! From eBooks to journals, St. Francis Library has got you covered.

Our All-in-One Search is the perfect place to get started. The All-in-One Search allows you to instantly browse books, articles, reviews, eBooks, images, and other resources related to your topic. This will allow you to get a sense of the material available on your topic and it’s a great place to narrow the scope of your paper. When searching in All-in-One you can limit your search by resource, collection, time frame, topic, and other criteria.

Many of your teachers will request that you only use scholarly or peer-reviewed articles. Finding these types of articles is quick and easy in our All-in-One Search. Once you’ve searched your specific phrase or keywords, simply click “Show Only Peer-reviewed Journals” on the left-side of the results page. You can also choose to only view “Full Text Online.” This will ensure you only see articles that are available at St. Francis Library.

Don’t want to just work with articles and want some books on your topic as well? We’ve got plenty of those! On the results page of the All-in-One Search you can choose Books and/or Electronic Books as a resource type. A list of books will show up stating whether the book is available or checked out. Once you find a book you like and see that it’s available, you just have to go retrieve it. This is a lot easier than it seems. Our books are sorted by Library of Congress call numbers. It may seem confusing and you’ll probably ask yourself why things can’t just be sorted alphabetically. Trust us, there is a method to the madness. Library of Congress is sorted by subject. You can find more about Library of Congress and what all those letters and numbers mean here. All our circulating books can be found in the cellar of the library.

And don’t forget about eBooks! We’ve got a whole page dedicated to our eBooks Collection. This page shows you how to find the books and download them.

After using the All-in-One Search to familiarize yourself with the topic and narrow the focus of your paper, you may want to use one of our many databases for more specific resources. An alphabetical list of our databases can be found under Quick Links on the library’s homepage. Our databases cover several subjects including, Accounting & Business Law, Fine Arts, and Psychology. Databases are a great resource for when you’re looking for a specific topic. Many of the search pages are similar to our All-in-One search. You can limit the search by publication date, resource type, subject, and more.

Google Scholar is another great tool to find resources for your research paper. It’s best to turn to Google Scholar after going through the catalog and databases provided from the library. Google Scholar will give you an idea of additional articles written about your topic that we may not have access to. If you find an article that fits perfectly with your paper but we do not have access to it, you can put in a request to Interlibrary Loans. We offer interlibrary loans on articles and books. Please keep in mind that requests for materials do take some time to be fulfilled.

So you’ve checked our catalog through the All-one-Search, you’ve been through every database we have several times, and spent hours searching through Google Scholar, but you still haven’t found that perfect resource. The one article or book that will complete your paper and guarantee you an A. Well you still haven’t gone through all the resources we offer. You’re forgetting the number one resource at every library: the reference librarian!

Maybe you’ve seen us sitting at our desk and you didn’t want to bother us with your questions. Wanna hear a secret? We want you to bother us with your questions. In fact, we love it! That’s what we’re there for. If you’re having trouble finding resources for your paper, visit us at the reference desk on the 2nd floor. As long as the library is open we’ll be there. You can also contact us by phone (718-489-5307), by email (library@sfc.edu), or SMS/text (347-471-0696).

Once you’ve gathered all your resources, it’s time for the easy part: writing the paper. Breathe! It’s not that scary and we’re still here to help. Check out our APA Style Guide and MLA Style Guide for assistance in formatting and citing your information correctly.


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