Learn to Research

Guides, tips, and definitions for library research.

Research Process Overview

So, you've got a paper due and now you have to start researching. What do you do? Where do you go? How do you use any information you find?

This image makes research look neat and orderly, but typically, it isn't. You may repeat steps, perform these steps in a different order, or think you've finished a step only to realize you haven't. 

Good news, though: research is a skill, which means the more you practice, the better you get. And, the library is here to help.

Why can't I just Google?

Google is pretty great... just not for everything. We recommend using Google to gather ideas and background information about your topic and then using library databases to find the scholarly information you'll actually use in your papers. Here's why:

Databases have information Google doesn't. The Libraries pays millions of dollars for scholarly information that's locked away behind "paywalls" if you're using Google.

Databases prioritize credibility. Google's algorithms emphasize popularity, relevance, and easily digestible information, instead of providing the best, most credible information for your research.

Databases are more precise. Library databases have specialized search options that take some getting used to but can help you find relevant articles faster. 

Want more explanation? Watch this Google vs. the Library video.

URL: https://libguides.colostate.edu/learn | Print Page