How to Search for Sources in Research

You should systematically search for sources in research otherwise you will lose some important information that might be useful to you and your research. Ask your teacher or supervisor what are the best sources that you should go through first and then the less important sources. It depends on your topic how you should find sources some topics have been researched a lot and you will find sources in journals, online articles as well as books. Some topics are related to some recent happenings and you can find sources for such topics in newspapers, news articles and online articles.

Consult an expert

The first step to find good sources related to topic can be asking some advice from an expert in your field. This person can be anyone like someone who has already done some researches on such topics, your teacher or instructor, a senior student or any other people who know about your topic. Even some of your class mates might have better knowledge about your topic and you can ask her for help in finding the sources.

Contact your librarian

The librarian can be the most valuable person if you want to start searching for books related to your topic. A reference librarian is a person whom you need to contact and he/she will tell you what books and in what section you can find for your topic. The librarian can be very helpful in providing information that no one else will know. The librarian can tell you how to search the database as well as the catalogs in your library.

Browse books in your library reference section

You need to find out the reference section of the library that has books related to your topic. You can find books manually using the library catalog but today in most of the libraries you can browse books online in the library database. You can search in the library database a book that you already know about, type the title of the book or else type author’s name. In case you do not know a particular book you can browse books by subject or by topic. Record the location of the book and find it in that section and on that shelf that you have recorded.

Search library catalog

A library catalog is a bibliographic data of all the books, journals, online articles and newspapers that the library has in its stock. Long been catalog cards have been used by the libraries to record information about all the library material at one place but today most libraries have online catalogs some libraries provide public access to these online catalogs others provide their students with a PIN to browse books and journals on their library website.

Most colleges teach their students how to use library catalogs manually as well as electronically in case you are not sure how to start ask your reference librarian. Usually manual catalogs are catalog cards that contain bibliographic information like author name, book title, publication and or editor and translator etc. The library catalog also tells you the placement of the book in the particular shelf from where you can get it. The catalogs also have ISBN that is international standard book number and you can find books by browsing the ISBN as well.

Browse the shelves

In case you know much about the topic that you are going to do research on and you are familiar with the type of books you might find that topic in you can directly browse books on the shelves where they are located. Mostly students who know about their topic well and have often searched books on that topic they prefer to search directly in shelves.


  • Turabian, L. k., A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 8th Ed, 2007, pp-33-35
  • Library Catalog, Retrieved on (2017, 27th September),



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