College is a time for meeting new people, experiencing new things, and learning...a lot. That being said, there is a good amount of studying and research that you’ll be partaking in. Professors will likely have higher standards than those that you have previously experienced, but don’t worry! I wanted to share a couple of tips on how to make use of the resources that you’ll have so that you can study well!
- Google Scholar. If you haven’t used it yet..start now! It’s a great place to narrow down academic sources. Google Scholar is still a search database, but it provides you with scholarly literature–meaning that it was written by researchers who have spent years studying under their discipline.
- Wikipedia?! Yes! Really. Well, at least sort of. Wikipedia pages can be altered by the public, so their information is not generally very reliable. However, if you scroll down to the bottom of a Wikipedia page, oftentimes you will find a section for References (example here on ). Here, you can sort through the information to find some ideas, and possibly scholarly literature.
- Library Databases. Okay, these are super helpful but also something that, I have found, tons of people don’t know about! Library databases are basically search engines but for everything that your library has access to that is published, both hard copies and electronic! Biola specifically has multiple databases for different disciplines–from the arts, to the sciences, to everything in between. These are great for finding specific research in your field.
- Your librarian. Librarians are trained in much more than simply finding books in the library. They can help you find the right sources for your paper, and can assist you in using the correct databases (correctly)!
Remember that many classes require that your sources are peer-reviewed: meaning that they have been reviewed by other experts in the same field. Sometimes databases will allow you to narrow down your searches to include only peer-reviewed sources. Otherwise, make sure you double check!
Research can seem daunting at first, but don’t stress out about it! You have so much to work with online alone–not to mention the books and people here to help you. It’s just a matter of getting used to the methods. Happy learning!