decorative image
Yale University Library decorative image
Research Tools Libraries and Collections About the Library Library Services
Orbis and Library Catalogs Databases and Article Searching Online Journals and Newspapers Research Guides by Subject Ask! a Librarian
Researching a Topic in 4 Easy Steps
Decorative Image
What do you need?    Books    Articles    Primary sources    Internet resources    Book reviews    Dissertations    Statistical information    Images    Videos    Music scores    Sound recordings    Internet reference sources   

Research assistance    More tips on researching at Yale    Printable version of this guide

Step 1: Define your topic

 Basic reference tools like encyclopedias, bibliographies, and the Subject Guides developed by Yale librarians can help you define the parameters of your topic.

Before delving too far into the facts, think about what angle you want to take on your topic.
What alternate terms are relevant to your topic?

Step 2: Find out what has already been written on your topic

 Once you have chosen a topic, the next step is to search the literature to see what has already been written. You might want to start by looking for books and journal articles.

What types and formats of material are in the Library?
How can you tell which Yale library to use?
Where and how can you search for books and journal articles?

Step 3: Consider other types of materials that might be relevant to your research

 For more thorough research, go beyond books and articles to identify information in other formats.

Are you supposed to use primary sources?
Is it smart to use the Internet to do your research?

Step 4: Locating materials at Yale and beyond

 Choose the "Locating Yale resources" link below for tips on finding material in the Yale libraries. For a major research project, it will often be necessary to locate materials that Yale doesn't own. Use the remaining links below to identify and locate materials and collections outside of Yale.


© 2007 Yale University Library
This file last modified 04/26/10
Send comments to Instruction Group
image map of navigational links
Search this siteYale UniversityYaleInfoContact UsOrbis Library CatalogLibrary hours