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Getting Started with Library Research

Using this guide

New to college-level research or CSUDH? Use the videos, tutorials, and handouts on this page to start and finish your research project! If you need help at any part of the research process, ask a librarian!

Resource Icons

= Video
= Tutorial or online activity
= Handout or guide

Choosing a Topic

First, choose and develop a topic you're interested in!

Preview of Choosing a Topic handout.
Choosing a Topic

Suggestions and questions to ask for choosing a topic for your assignment.

Preview of concept map.
Mapping Your Research Ideas

 A visual tool for narrowing a research topic, generating ideas, and asking questions.


Using Search Tools

Use online and library search tools to explore your topic and find sources.

Web browser with text on the left and OneSearch on the right.

A quick tutorial on using OneSearch to find library materials with hands-on practice.

Preview of OneSearch v. a subject database infographic.
OneSearch v. a Subject Database

A flow chart of when to use OneSearch or a specialized library database.

Preview of Choosing a Library Database video.
Choosing a Library Database

Find a list of library databases and filter by subject to find database for your topic or major.

Preview of Searching in a Library Database video.
Searching in a Library Database

How to use keywords and connectors to search in a library database.

Web browser with search bar and text cursor.
Developing Keywords

An interactive tutorial on developing research questions, keywords, and narrowing a topic.

Preview of Advanced database searching infographic.
Advanced Database Searching

An infographic for using AND, OR, NOT keyword connectors in a library database.


How Do I Find...

Looking for a specific kind of source? 

Preview of Looking for a Book? infographic
Books & eBooks

A quick guide to finding books in the library, including online textbooks and course reserves.

Preview of Gerth Archives Primary Source Research and Discovery Guide
Primary Sources

An introduction to identifying, finding, and analyzing primary sources at CSUDH and online.

Preview of Searching for .gov Sources video.
Statistics and .Gov Sources

Searching in Google using to find government web pages and statistics.

Preview of Company Research video.
Company Research

Find company information through Google and SWOT analyses in a library database.

Preview of Legal Sources video with scale surrounded by document, book, folder, clip board, and paper icons.
Legal Research

Find primary and secondary legal sources in WestLaw and Google Scholar.


Reading & Evaluating Sources

What makes the information you find credible? What about scholarly?

Preview of All About Peer Review guide.
All About Peer Review

+ + A mix of resources about peer review and reading research articles.

Paper with magnifying glass.
Evaluating Information

A tutorial on evaluating information, including popular and scholarly, peer-review sources.

Preview of Evaluating Web Sources infographic.
Evaluating Web Sources

Questions to evaluate web sources based on audience, purpose, and evidence.

Preview of 4 Moves & a Habit infographic.
Fact Checking

A method for fact-checking specific claims for accuracy called "4 Moves & a Habit."


Writing About Your Research

Use and cite sources in your paper! 

Preview of Evaluating Sources Using BEAM infographic.
Ways to Use Sources

Ways to use sources in a research project for background, evidence, argument, or method.

Preview of Literature Review infographic.
Literature Reviews

Tips for finding and using sources in a literature review.

Preview of What is an annotated bibliography infographic handout.
Annotated Bibliographies

Introduction to the purpose and conventions of annotated bibliographies.

Preview of CSUDH Library Citation Guide

+ A mix of resources about using citation styles such as APA and MLA.

Papers with blank text and check mark.
Avoiding Plagiarism

A tutorial on avoiding plagiarism by properly paraphrasing and citing sources.