Tip 1: BACKGROUND RESEARCH IS KEY
Go ahead and Google your topic… librarians do! Having a general understanding of what’s going on with your topic (blogs, Wikipedia, news, professional organizations) will go a long way when you’ve got to find scholarly and peer-reviewed sources. Look for words, issues, or even people that get mentioned a lot and use them to search in the library’s database.
Tip 2: RESEARCH IS ALL ABOUT TWISTS AND TURNS
Research is not a straight line from picking a topic to finding sources to writing a paper. Good research is a mix of discovery, uncertainty, and revisiting and revising the question you are trying to answer. Don’t give up- research is about exploration and oftentimes you will be in unfamiliar territory. That’s ok!
Tip 3: LIBRARIANS ARE YOUR LIFELINE
Nothing on your topic? Overwhelmed by results? Can’t figure out the difference between a scholarly and popular source? Make an appointment with one of your friendly librarians here: https://askus.lib.lsu.edu/index.php
Tip 4: RESEARCH GUIDES FOR THE WIN
The LSU Libraries have a ton of online research guides to help with your research. We’ve got you covered with tutorials on how to use our databases, specific aspects of research, and even suggested databases for your classes and papers!
Check out the guides here:http://guides.lib.lsu.edu/
Tip 5: BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
Scholarly articles are just that- scholarly. They can be difficult to get through if you’re new to the topic because they could be jargon-heavy or super dense. Trust us, we’ve all been there!
Here’s a video with some tips on how to read and understand a scientific article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2K6mJkSWoA