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Introduction to Research: Where to Search

This guide is to help you with the research process.

Where should I begin my research?

First, you need to decide what type of information you need.  You may need background information so that you can familiarize yourself with a new subject.  You may need to read about a particular topic to discover what you want to research more in depth.  You may need to prove your point by looking up specific information.  In each of these scenarios, you need different types of resources.

Type of Information Source Sample Resources
Background information Book or encyclopedia

The MCNY Catalog

Credo Reference

Scholarly information Peer reviewed article Proquest Psychology Database
Business information Database Hoover's

As you can see, the information you need should dictate where you look, and looking at a resource like a database that is specifically for your needs will save you a lot of time.  To view more databases, you can check out Databases by Subject or Databases A-Z.

What is so great about library databases?

A database is a collection of information often about a particular subject.  The library subscribes to many of these databases, which contain research which is normally paid for by the researcher.  Because this information is sold, it is information that cannot be obtained from Google or other search engines.

As long as you are a student at MCNY, you can sign into our databases.  In addition, you can search most library databases from the comfort of your own home.  For the MCNY databases, all you need is the same username and password you use for signing in to your email.

Can I use my public library card to do research?

Yes, you can!  Once you have a library card, you can search their databases.  The databases will often request either your card number or your username and a password or pin number.

Why can't I use Wikipedia?

You can!  (Unless your professor tells you not to.)  Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone (regardless of their knowledge or skill) can edit.  Wikipedia is a tool that, when appropriately used, can be very helpful.  Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and therefore is a source for general information.  Because it is a general information source, it is useful if you know very little about a topic, business, or idea, but it is not useful for targeted research.  For example, if Villisca, Iowa comes up in your research, it's acceptable to look it up in an encyclopedia like Credo Reference or Wikipedia.  However, if you intend to research Villisca, then you will need to use other resources for more in depth knowledge.