Ace That Research Project - Top 5 Research Tips from an FSW Librarian

Were you just assigned a research project but don’t know where to start? Have you struggled to get the grade you want because your sources haven’t been credible? Here are five tips from FSW Faculty Librarian Arenthia Herren to help you ace that research paper or project.

5. Log into the databases through Canvas

Don’t just rely on Google. FSW Libraries has resource databases with credible sources you can access right through Canvas. 

Instead of trying to remember that your Borrower ID for the library is your student ID number and your PIN is the last four digits of your Social Security number, just log in to the FSW Libraries’ databases using the student resources button on your Canvas Dashboard. After clicking “Student Resources,” select “Research Databases” and after the redirect page, you will be right in the databases.

Still struggling to log in to the library databases? This video can help - How do I get into the FSW library databases?


4. Start your research projects early!





Librarians are super helpful, but we aren’t magicians. If you wait until the last minute to get help finding sources for your project, you might be out of luck. Sometimes we have to request materials from other campuses or institutions, and that can mean waiting on the mail. Get started early to make sure you have time for all those great resources to arrive. 


3.  Use reference sources to find background information first

The authors of scholarly journal articles assume you already know the basic who, what, where, and when of your research topic, and they will jump right in with a lot of narrow information about the why or how of your topic. To make sure you fully understand your topic and those scholarly articles, use resources like Credo Reference (a library database) to learn that background information before you dive into the more heavy-duty scholarship. 






2. Search the databases using Keywords and the word “and”

You probably use a long phrase or ask a question to find search results on Google or other similar search engines, but the library databases don’t work like that. For best results, use keywords and connect them using the word “and”.  For example, if you’re researching the effects global warming has had on hurricanes, try searching: “global warming and hurricanes.” 

Also, remember that some topics go by different names. Global warming could also be searched with the keywords “climate change.”


1.  Ask for help!





You might think that you can find your way around a search engine pretty well, but library resources work differently than web search engines. Your FSW librarians are information-retrieving ninjas and can teach you tricks and save you time. We know many of the assignments from your professors very well, and we know right where to find the sources you need. We will also teach you how to find good, credible college-level sources for your research projects that will improve your grade, but we can’t help if you don’t ask! 

Remember you can chat with us, email us, or schedule an appointment for individual research help right from the libraries’ homepage - https://www.fsw.edu/library.





Arenthia Herren FSW Faculty Librarian