Research Guides: A Total Learning Experience

There is such a vast collection of resources available at Roesch Library. The seemingly innumerable possibilities are truly amazing. A student could research a single project for weeks and still miss pieces of information. If you limit yourself to only books or a single database, you are barely scratching the surface. It is not easy to acquaint yourself with every database, much less become an expert using them. Luckily, there is a way to find information centered on specific topics in one location: UD Research Guides.

I first learned about Research Guides during my freshman year for a particularly difficult English class. In preparation for our final research paper, we visited the library to see a presentation on possible research techniques. There, I learned what Research Guides were and how to use them. Essentially, Research Guides are subject-specific collections of content that are appropriate for research coursework. Librarians collect worthwhile books, databases, and links, and put them in a single, presentable webpage. Topics can range from broad, such as how to cite sources, to specific, as in certain courses or professors.

Librarians put in quite a bit of time making these guides the best they can be. Three years after seeing my first Research Guide in action, I got the opportunity to make one of my own--a guide to a capstone English seminar course about the Beat generation, a literary movement of the 1950s. I looked through dozens of databases, many of which I was not even aware of before starting the project, and then chose the best ones to display on the site. I mined websites and catalogs to find usable information about authors and their works. In the process, I picked up a wealth of information that helped in crafting my research papers. It is as much of a learning tool for the creator of the guide as it is for the student. I hope my guide will be as effective for future students as current guides have been for me.

If you’re having trouble with a course, spend some time browsing the collection at the Research Guide index. If you do not see a guide that perfectly aligns with one of your courses, try some of the broader subject guides. Even if you are not working on a project, look through the subjects for something that may be interesting. You will be better off knowing how to use Research Guides, and you may find a topic that grabs your attention along the way.

- Joseph Wooley '14, Information Desk Student Worker

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