Choose a topic.
Do a brain dump: Note down what you already know about your topic, including
Fill in the gaps in your knowlege: get background information from encyclopedias or other secondary sources. Wikipedia can be good here.
Select the best places/ databases to find information on your topic. Look under the History Databases tab of this guide for article database suggestions. Or use a catalog like Oskicat or Melvyl to search for books and other resources.
Use nouns from your brain dump as search terms.
Evaluate what you find. Change search terms to get closer to what you really want.
Refine Your Topic - Using the information you have gathered, determine if your research topic should be narrower or broader. You may need to search basic resources again using your new, focused topics and keywords.
Take a look this short tutorial on beginning your research for more ideas.
Click on the image below to see a larger interactive version of the campus library map.
As a Berkeley student you are eligible to use books and articles from other libraries around the United States.
Check OskiCat to make sure UC Berkeley does not own the material you want.
Provide a full and accurate bibliographic citation, including author, title, place and date of publication, and series. You can get citations from professors, from Melvyl, from other articles, from Google scholar. Verify your citations before submitting them for ILL.
Your instructor wants you to use scholarly [or 'peer reviewed'] sources. What does she mean?
Scholarship is always changing. Try to find the most recent scholarly sources you can.
To use library databases from off campus you have to set up the proxy server: this changes your browser settings.
Books and journals are arranged on our shelves according to the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Each is assigned a unique call number based on its subject matter and other characteristics. Items on the same subject will often be grouped together.
In using a call number to locate a book on the shelf, consider each element in turn before moving on to the next segment.
These call numbers are arranged as they should appear on the shelves. In each case, the element shown in boldface distinguishes the number from the preceding one:
Each call number consists of several elements. For example::
The FIRST line, TK, is based on the broad subject of the book. Within Class T for technology, TK represents electrical engineering.
The SECOND line, 7881.6, defines the subject matter more finely. When looking for the book, read this as a whole number with a decimal component. In this example, TK7881.6 represents magnetic recording (a subdivision of TK— electrical engineering).
The THIRD line, M29, usually indicates author, but may also represent a further subject subdivision, geographic area, etc. There may also be a fourth line, formatted the same way. When looking for the book, read the numeric component as if it were preceded by a decimal point. In the example above, the numeric part of M29 should be read as ".29" (and the call number TK7881.6 M29 comes before TK7881.6 M4).
The YEAR of publication, such as 1993, may also be present. These file in chronological order and often indicate successive editions of a book. The call number may also have additional elements, such as volume numbers.
Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see http://lib.berkeley.edu/alacarte/course-guides.
Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:
One of the most powerful ways to find primary sources in the Library is to use the names of people. An essential part of your background reading should be to note down names of people involved in your topics.
Names can be searched in the catalogs [Oskicat and Melvyl] in specialized ways: as authors or as subjects. Even people you do not consider authors in the conventional sense may be listed as authors, if:
When searching for primary sources, it's a good idea always to search those names as authors, as well as keywords. Works where the person is listed as an author will always be primary sources.
Search an article database to find citations (title, author, title of journal, date, page numbers) for articles on a particular topic. The Library gives you access to over 200 article databases covering different disciplines.
1. Think about which academic disciplines might write about your topic. Examples: literature, film, anthropology, history...
2. Find the appropriate article database by subject (academic discipline or department). Look for "Recommended" databases.
Library home > Articles > Article Databases by Subject
3. You may need databases that cover diffferent types of materials - historical or ethnic newspapers, congressional information, primary sources, etc:
Library home > Electronic Resources > Electronic Resources, Types A-Z >
"It's all free on the Internet, right?" "Why should I go through the library's website to find sources for my paper?"
The Web is a great source for free, publicly available information, but not for thousands of electronic books, journal articles, and scholarly resources that are available only to the campus community. Resources like Lexis-Nexis, Web of Science, Academic Search Complete, and ARTstor are "invisible" to Google. You will not see results from these databases in the results of a Google search.*
Through the Library website, you can access hundreds of different licensed databases containing journal articles, electronic books, maps, images, government and legal information, current and historical newspapers, digitized primary sources, and more.Read more
Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates
Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).
Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)
This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.
In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when
This content is part of the Understanding Plagiarism tutorial created by the Indiana University School of Education.
Finding a citation in a bibliography (online or in print) is a great way to find more resources on your topic.
However, you have to be able to read the citation in order to find the item in the UCB Library.
The most common citations are for books, articles, and book chapters. Can you tell which citation below is for a book? For a chapter? For an article?
Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but any are easier than doing it by hand!
It's always good to double check the formatting -- sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.Using APA 6th? Purdue has produced this very handy quick guide. The fulltext of APA 6th is not available online, but we do have print copies in the EdPsych Library in reference and short term reserve at BF76.7 P83 2010
If you've never used Zotero before, use the QuickStart Guide to get started.
Change your preferences if you want Zotero to
To use Zotero to find specific articles in our library's databases, set up the Open URL resolver with this link: http://ucelinks.cdlib.org:8888/sfx_local?
An in-depth discussion of the relative virtues of Endnote and Zotero,
Do your search in Google Scholar. Look in the left sidebar for the Create Alert link next to the envelope icon, and click it. New items will be sent to your email account as they are found by Google.
Open Scholar. Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner, and choose 'scholar preferences'. In the next screen, choose Library Links from the left-hand menu. In the search box, type the word Berkeley. Choose University of California, Berkeley - UC-eLinks, and Open Worldcat Search.
Do a Google Scholar search. Click on the "Cited by" link under a citation and select the "Search within articles citing..." checkbox.
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