The Hardest Part of Research


Getting Started

In the fall, we asked you to tell us what the hardest part of research is for you.  For many of you, it’s getting started (“knowing where to begin,” “starting it,” “the beginning”).  If part of the difficulty is that you know very little about your topic, check out CredoReference.  This great database contains encyclopedia, dictionary, and handbook articles on many topics.  These should give you an overview of your topic and some ideas on how to break it down.  You can find CredoReference in the Databases A-Z list on the library’s homepage.


Avoiding Distractions

Individual Study Room

Individual Study Room

If you are easily distracted (for example, this person: “Continuing to stay interested when there are shiny objects and funny noises in the same room as you because suddenly tinkling glasses and butterflies and candy and”), consider one of the library’s individual study rooms.  These locked rooms have desk space and outlets.  They are a great place to hide away from many of life’s distractions and get some work done.

Locating Information

Many of you also mentioned struggling with locating information.  This is definitely an area that librarians can help!  If you have a hard time with “looking for articles” or “navigating research terms to find the best results,” you should check out our Basic Databases Workshops:

  • January 29 (Tuesday): 11:30am to 12:20
  • February 4 (Monday): 5:30pm to 6:20

Workshop Description: Need to find articles for a paper? Can’t remember how to use the library databases? This workshop offers an introduction to online database searching strategies to help you find the resources you need.

Evaluating your Sources

For those of you struggling with “Being critical about your sources/citations” and “Sorting the wheat from the chaff,” consider attending our Evaluating Resources Workshops:

  • February 12 (Tuesday): 11:30am to 12:20
  • February 25 (Monday): 2:00pm to 2:50

Workshop Description: Not sure if you are selecting the best resources for your assignment?  Attend this workshop to learn more about how to evaluate the resources you find – books, journals, websites, and everything else.

Organizing your Sources

At least one of you mentioned that “keeping everything organized” was a frustration.  There are many ways to organize your research.  If you are interested in some tech tools that can help you, you may want to learn more about Mendeley or Zotero at our workshops:

  • Zotero
    • February 5 (Tuesday): 11:30am to 12:20
    • February 6 (Wednesday): 5:15pm to 6:05
  • Mendeley
    • February 14 (Thursday): 11:30am to 12:20
    • February 19 (Tuesday): 5:15pm to 6:05

Workshop Description: Working on research and have PDFs saved all over the place?  Do you keep misplacing the articles you’ve found?  There’s an easier way to keep track!  Attend these workshops to learn more about Mendeley and/or Zotero, tools that you can use both to keep all your research in one location and to create citations.

Unable to attend a library workshop or want individual assistance? Ask a librarian!


PaceCenter5Avoiding procrastination is another tricky area (“turning on self-control,” “calculating how long you can procrastinate until the situation becomes desperate,” “ignoring the cat”).  The PACE Center offers some workshops on procrastination and time management that you may find useful:

  • Friday, January 25: Time Management in College, 11:30am, Chatham Eastside: Main Conference Room
  • Wednesday, January 30: Time Management in College, 11:30am, Davis Room: JKM Library
  • Friday, February 22: Procrastination, 11:30am, Davis Room: JKM Library
  • Monday, February 25: Procrastination, 11:30am, Chatham Eastside: Main Conference Room

 Writing the Paper

The PACE Center also provides writing help for those of you who struggle with “writing up the paper” and “editing.”


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