Getting Started

This guide is a curated list of Daemen Library resources to help you get started with research for composition coursework. While using this guide, it's important to understand the role each type of resource plays in the research process.

Choosing a Resource: News, Reference Works, Books, and Databases

There are numerous kinds of sources you can turn to in the research process. Knowing the role of each kind of source will help you decide where to start!

News articles can inspire potential research topics and serve as a bridge to scholarly articles. 

Reference sources like dictionaries and encyclopedias provide basic definitions and background information on subjects. These can be useful when brainstorming potential topics and in identifying key terms and concepts for book and article searches. You might return to these sources as you run across unfamiliar words or subjects in your research.

Books and eBooks are often a great place to start your research after you've identified your general topic. They can be fantastic sources of background information. Most scholarly books will address your topic from multiple angles, and some will even offer multiple viewpoints. While a book will not be most the most current source of information, it may prepare you to understand the most current sources of information.  

Scholarly articles are accessed through databases. They are written for experts by experts in technical, discipline-specific language. They also provide verifiable and reliable evidence for their claims. Because of their narrow scoop, it is a good idea to begin article searches after you have gained a general understanding of your subject. 


Understanding the Research Process

Want to learn more about the fundamentals of the research process? Consult our Research Basics Guide.