Research FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

We highly suggest that you start your research by searching the library’s online catalog for resources. Here you will find books, videos, journal articles, electronic resources, and more for your topic.

Looking at one of our Research Guides is also a good place to start. These guides are specific to each major and are designed to give you an idea of where to look for information and how to access it. If you need help coming up with a topic or designing a search plan, check out the Start Your Research Guide or get in touch with the Reference & Instruction Librarian.

Yes! We encourage meeting with the Reference & Instruction Librarian, Amanda Walch, if you have questions about using library search tools, citing sources, or anything to do with research. You can make an appointment or send her an email and she’ll be happy to help.

Library resources can be accessed from anywhere in the world. If you’re not on campus and you’re using library subscription resources linked from Guides or the library website, you’ll be asked to log in with your UJ email address and password, just like you would use to log into your email or MyUJ. For more details, including step-by-step instructions, check out the Off-Campus Access to Library Resources page.

When logging into library databases through our proxy system, make sure you’re entering your whole email address (with and using the password you use for your email, MyUJ, etc. If you ever had an email address with the domain, you may need to use that instead.

If you’re getting error messages after you’ve entered your email and password, try clearing cookies from your browser. If it seems like links to articles from the catalog don’t go to the expected place, send us an email and a librarian will look into it.

Do you have a specific research question that you’re trying to answer? If not, take a few moments to think of one or two. What exactly are you trying to find out? What is your focus?

If you can’t come up with a specific question, you might need to do some more background research. Search your topic in Wikipedia or in the library catalog. What kinds of information exists about your topic? Who’s writing about it? What are some areas of agreement or disagreement in what you find?

Once you’ve done some background research and have a specific research question (or two), take a moment to brainstorm a list of search terms or keywords. Try to think of synonyms and related terms. As you search with those terms, see what other terms are used by scholars and others who are writing about your topic.

It’s also important to pay attention to where you’re searching. Some of our databases cover many subjects, and some only cover one or two. If you’re looking for information about insects in a psychology-focused database, you won’t find a whole lot. Filter the All Databases list by subject using the first dropdown menu on the left in the black bar along the top of the page to narrow your options to relevant databases.

If this seems overwhelming or you just want to talk through your topic and your options for searching, get in touch! We’re here to help.

Reference sources (ex: dictionary, encyclopedia, handbook) are designed to give you background information on a specific subject or topic. They’re usually in the form of dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks – think Wikipedia. They are a great place to start before searching online because they will typically have keywords, concepts, or ideas laid out for you. Raugust Library subscribes to Credo which gives access to over 800 full-text, online reference books on multiple research topics, and has many reference books in print on the main floor of the library.

Have questions? Ask us!

Amanda Walch

  • Reference and Instruction Librarian
  • Instructor