But it actually does help, especially in the early stages of your paper, by forcing you to come to terms with what you want to say about your topic. If you find that person, the path to the information you will need to graduate will be smoothly paved, and may even turn out to be full of interesting roadside attractions. Each page of your term paper should have around 1-3 references per page, as a general rule of thumb.
It can take several weeks to get the material you need from another library.
As the semester progresses, and more students and faculty gradually realize they also need this service, it quickly slows down under the load.
If you get zip, try thinking of alternate terms, synonyms, slang etc. Usually you get way too much, because in our haste to get everything online, we've indexed everything to death.
So a search on alligators turns up everything from wildlife to recipes.
Magazines like Time and Newsweek often have good focused articles, but they tend to be laden with unsupported opinions, and written to cause a sensation rather than to reveal the truth. For raw data and spirited opinion, government documents can't be beat.
Your tax dollars fund a mountain of research, good, bad, and indifferent, and the results of all of that research end up in the government documents department of the library.No more than one third of your sources should come from magazines or the internet, unless they refer to actual data.If your entire argument is built upon a stack of Newsweeks, it will tremble in the slightest breeze. Try to use several different types of sources in your research.Use it on your first draft to get your bearings, or on your final draft to check the way you’ve organized your paragraphs. Many papers may have more than that, but if yours has less, you probably skimped in the endless hours in the library department.Even better, papers should draw on a variety of sources, which usually boils down to books, essays, journal articles and/or magazines.Kind of like a sixth sense, or a really obscure super power. Remember that most of the interface you deal with aren't really librarians, they're student workers, clerical staff, or whoever else could be dragooned into helping to fill the long hours on the firing line.In your first draft, say what you have to say, then punch it up or trim it down as need be. Outlining is a genuine pain, which I personally put in the same category as cleaning the litter box - a necessary evil. You should seek out and befriend a competent and helpful reference librarian early on, like Buffy found Giles.So psych* would be searched as psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy, all at the same time.But it would also drag in psychotic, psychobabble and psychosomatic, so use truncation with caution.Collections of state documents can also be an invaluable source for certain topics, such as local environmental problems. Modern university libraries have most of their collections online.Every university library has its own database for books and journals.