Tips for Successful Research using your Library

You can access lots of specialized encyclopedias, databases, and other e-resources with your library card by checking our A to Z Resources list!

Tips for doing research:

  • Make sure to start early! You probably won't find the exact information you want to use for your assignment on your first search! Adopt the mindset of a researcher and be patient and persistent in your information quest! Thorough research takes time.
  • Remember to look beyond the first results page. Search engines and database algorithms can be flawed so don't rule out results automatically just because they are past the first page. In most cases, the higher they appear the more closely they match your chosen search terms.  This may not always mean that the information presented first is most relevant to your research.
  • Brainstorm different ways to word your topic: There are almost always several terms to describe the same thing so make sure you try different search terms when looking for information so that you don't restrict your search by only using one term. For example:  "Global Warming" and "climate change"
  • If you are stuck or just would like some guidance, ask for help. Library staff often know of additional sources of information. Each of the large branches has a Reference Librarian and a Youth Services Librarian. The St. Tammany Parish Library staff is eager to help you! If you are at home, give us a call!

When using physical resources:

  • Remember that other students are looking for similar books or reference materials. If a copy of the book you want to read is checked out or your branch does not have a copy of it, in most cases the book can be borrowed from another branch or from another library system. We can transfer materials from other branches but be prepared to allow at the most 3 days for your item to make its' way to your branch. If coming from another system, this may take a week or more.
  • Be prepared to make copies. Books that can be checked out may not be available on your subject. You may need to make photocopies from reference books. Copies are $.10 a page for black and white and $.50 for color.
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