Research is a step-by-step process. Here are some procedures you might want to keep in mind:
Step 1. Identify your your topic
Read the assignment carefully to make sure you know what you need to do to complete it. Talk to your professor if you are unsure about your topic.
Step 2. Obtain background material on your topic
Subject encyclopedias and other reference works can be useful in locating background information. You will want to understand who the author of your work was and the time in which they lived. The resources on the Background Information tab will help you with this.
Step 3. Find books
Use the library's catalog search box on the Tools tab to look for books in the library's collections.
Step 4: Find Articles
Quest, the library's discovery tool allows you to search across many of the library's databases. The Tools tab has a search box for Quest and links to some specific databases that you may find helpful.
Step 5: Evaluating Your Sources
Remember that you are looking for scholary resources! The Types of Resources tab will help you in identifying these. You may also want to refer to the library's Evaluating Resources guide.
Step 6: Citing Your Sources
Don't forget that you will have to cite and document the sources you use. See the UMW Libraries' guide to Citing Resources for more information. Both the library and the Writing Center can help you in citing resources correctly.