Choose a topic. It's OK if it's vague, or too broad; you can get more specific later.
Do a brain dump: Note down what you already know about your topic, including:
Select the best search tools to find information on your topic. Look under the Finding Articles tab of this guide for article database suggestions, or click here to see all the article databases available for your subject. 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.
For more ideas, take a look this short tutorial on beginning your research!
Most books and articles you find through the library website are suitable as sources for your paper - but some are not!
This 5-minute silent video will make it clear.
When you find a source, study it to see whether it's "scholarly". Scholarly publications include footnotes and bibliographies documenting their sources, list the author's credentials, and in most cases have been validated through a peer review process.
For more details, see our Critical Evaluation of Resources page.
If you're using web pages found through Google or other search engines, evaluation is especially important, since these tools have no built-in validation of the content. For help, see our guide to Evaluating Web Pages.
Check out Google Art Project, which gives you virtual tours of some of the world's major art museums, including close ups of major art works.
Many article databases contain information about articles (citations or abstracts), not the entire text of the article. Once you've used an article database to find articles on your topic, you may need to use this button: in order to locate and read the full text of the article. The UC-eLinks button appears in nearly all the databases available from the UCB Library website.
UC-eLinks will link you to the online full text of an article if UCB has paid for online access; otherwise, UC-eLinks will help you locate a print copy on the shelf in the library. If UCB doesn't own the article in print or online format, UC-eLinks can also help you order a copy from another library.
For more information, watch this video tutorial (about 4 min.)
You can also set up UC-eLinks to work with Google Scholar. For more information, watch this 40-second demo.
To find books, DVDs, maps, sound recordings, manuscripts, and much more - everything except articles - use a library catalog.
OskiCat = UC Berkeley libraries
MELVYL= all UC campus libraries, including all UC Berkeley libraries
What's the difference?
For each item make sure you know the name of the physical library, call number, and whether or not it's checked out, library use only, etc.
A large part of the library's collection is stored off campus in an environmentally secure building called the Northern Regional Library Facility [NRLF].
Submit online requests via the REQUEST button in OskiCat to borrow material shelved at NRLF. To receive electronic or paper copies of book chapters or journal articles, submit an online request via the "Request an article from NRLF (photocopy or web delivery)" link that appears in eligible titles in OskiCat. Staff at public service desks of any campus library can assist you with further questions.
Log in to Request with your Calnet ID and fill out the screens. Choose the volume you want, for periodicals:
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.
Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, organize and store your PDFs, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but all are easier than doing it by hand!
Tip: After creating a bibliography with a citation management tool, it's always good to double check the formatting; sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.
The complete citation should look like this:
Anti-slavery International. "Anti-slavery: today’s fight for tomorrow’s freedom." 4/12/2002. http://www.antislavery.org/ (4 Dec. 2003).
The components of the citation are [in this order]:
• Author's name, last name first (if known), or organizational author
• Title of the page, in quotation marks
• Title of the complete website (if applicable), in italics
• Date of the webpage or last revision (if available)
• Full URL including protocol (e.g., "http")
• Date you read it, in parentheses
Before you can access Library resources from off campus make sure you have configured your computer with proxy server settings.
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID or Library PIN when you click on the link to a licensed resource.
Art History/Classics Library: 308 Doe Library: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/ARTH/
The Art History/Classics Library contains a core collection of scholarly books and journals used primarily for PhD research. Undergraduates may use the Art History/Classics Library if the identified resource is only available there. When you identify a unique book or journal, please present your Cal ID to the circulation desk staff and fill out a Day Pass in order to access the material. All AH/C resources are library use only.
"There are no dumb questions!"
That's the philosophy of reference librarians, who are here to save you time and trouble. If you get stuck, you can talk to a reference librarian at any campus library.
Other ways to get help: in person, by e-mail, using specialized chat services
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