Skip to main content

Welcome to Urban's Herbst Library: Starting Your Research

Here you will find great sources for all of your research needs!

First things first

As you embark on your research, please remember that the librarian can help you by making your search strategy more effective and efficient! Email the librarian for help getting started--you'll end up saving a lot of time by doing so.

How to start researching

Understand your assignment:

  • Do you need primary sources?
  • What kind of information will you need? Books, websites, newspapers, videos, etc?
  • What does your teacher expect from you?
  • Be open to all types of information!

Build on your assumptions and expectations.

  • Create a list of keywords, people, ideas, or phrases related to your topic.
  • Great research starts with great sources:

Google is not a source!

  • A source is an article, website, book, encyclopedia entry, movie, song, etc. 
  • Begin by looking at encyclopedias for topical overviews.


  • It can be used as a tool in this beginning process, but should not be used as a source in your assignment. Use it to brainstorm keywords, gain a general understanding, and then corroborate what you find with reliable sources. Or just use a reliable encyclopedia to start with!
  • Use Proquest or other library databases to gather articles and other sources.
  • Take notes!

Keep a trail of your research process.

  • Which keywords worked? Which did not?
  • Don’t take too much time searching. Research is about reading! 

* * If you are having trouble finding good things to read, ask the librarian and re-strategize your research process. Don’t get stuck with irrelevant information. Keep your topic and thesis in mind! **