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Researching a Topic in 4 Easy Steps
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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.

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This file last modified 04/26/10
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