Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Henry Clay Student Congress: Research Tips and Tricks

Library Research Tips and Tricks

Forming the Research Question:


  • What questions might someone else have about this topic?

  • How can I narrow my topic by region/country?

  • By time period?

  • By demographics (groups of people)?

  • Am I interested in the relationship between more than one topic?

  • Am I willing to question what I think I already know about my topic in order to find the truth?


Choosing Your Search Tools:


  • Everything for your research is located at

  • You probably won’t find everything you need in one database; try several!

  • Start with more general sources (like Gale Virtual Ref or CQ), then move to newsapers or print resources.

  • Try using the advanced search options for more control over your results!


Forming Keyword Searches:


  • Remember to remove non-central words like a, an, the, in, of, and, or, but, etc.

  • Try to develop as many synonyms for your keywords as possible; try them in different combinations when searching.


How to Evaluate Sources for Credibility:


  1. Who is the author? Why should I believe him/her?

  2. Who is the publisher? What kinds of things do they usually publish?

  3. When was this published (too old/too new)?

  4. Who is the intended audience (is this too juvenile/too technical/etc.)?

  5. Is this information objective or biased (for or against any particular groups, politics, religion, etc.)? How do I know?

Your Librarian

Profile Photo
Helen Bischoff
Transylvania University Library
300 N. Broadway
Lexington, KY 40508-1797