Research Techniques

If you haven’t done research in the United States before, you may find that there are resources that you aren't familiar with. This page will guide you through some of those resources, but please visit the libraries at Wesleyan (Olin and Sci-Li) in person. You’ll find supportive staff members and great places to study!  

Where to look for sources

No matter your area of study, chances are that you will write your fair share of research papers as a Wesleyan student! US libraries can be intimidating if you’ve never used electronic library’s search engines, the Library of Congress classification system, or been in a large library. Fortunately, Wesleyan provides access to a wide array of research resources for students and plenty of support to guide you through it.

Using a library expands the reach of your research in that sources you would have to pay for on the Internet are often free when you use the library to access them. The links below will show you how to use the most common library research resources. 

OneSearch: Rather than going through the stacks of Olin library and searching for a book, you can use OneSearch to look for helpful materials for your research. Not only does this handy tool allow you to narrow your search results using keywords, you can also use it to request books from Trinity or Connecticut College, renew books, and even save your search records to a permanent list. Click here to learn more about this tool and how to most effectively use it.

A-Z Databases: Wesleyan Library’s A-Z Databases page offers a collection of more than 400 library databases for your research. While the sheer number of links on the page may seem daunting at first glance, you can refine your search results by using the search function and drop-down menus.

Google Scholar: Containing almost 400 million journal articles, books, and primary sources, Google Scholar is the largest search engine for academic resources. While not all of the content is freely available, you could add Wesleyan to your Google Scholar > Library links settings so Google Scholar will show links to articles that Wesleyan has access to.

WorldCat: When all else fails, WorldCat—the world's largest network of library content and services—is the place to go to look for books, articles, archival materials, Internet resources, and even sound recordings. If a book has been published and cataloged by libraries, you can most likely find it here. Don’t worry if you’ve found a book relevant to your research in WorldCat that is not at Wesleyan, Trinity, or Connecticut College—you can place an interlibrary loan request for a copy.

Finding a book on the shelf: When you find a book using any of the above searches, you’ll be given a numerical code based on the subject, subtopic, author, and year. If you’ve never searched for a book in a large library, this webpage will help you understand where to find the book on the shelf.  

Library Services

The librarians at Wesleyan can guide you during all the phases of your research project. At any point during your project, you can schedule an individual session with a librarian, reserve a room to work, or take advantage of the electronic library guides by subject. There are also librarians and student workers at the library that will be happy to answer your questions and direct you to what you need to find. 

Citing your sources: 

The expectations for citations and the punitive actions for plagiarism vary considerably from country to country and culture to culture. Your professors in the US will expect you to use citations everytime you quote, summarize, or paraphrase a source or refer to an idea that isn’t yours. If you aren’t certain whether you need a citation, ask your professor or a Writing Workshop tutor; they’re happy to help. 

For more information about plagiarism and citing your sources try the following sources:

The University of North Carolina: Handout on plagiarism with explanations of US expectation 

The Purdue Owl: An overview for multilingual writers

The Wesleyan Handbook: Explains the Honor Code with a specific section on plagiarism