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Undergraduate Research

This LibGuide will provide an overview of the research process, finding and evaluating information, and appropriate use of citation for undergraduate students completing a research project.

Inter-library Loan

We don't have the title you want? You can request it through our InterLibrary Loan form. You can request books or even submit a request for another library to scan an article that they have in print and send it to you via email.


Databases, Journals, and Articles

database contains journals in which articles are published.  

  • To discover articles on topics of interest to you, search our databases using the A to Z list or by subject here.  
  • If you need to find a specific article and you know the title of the journal in which it is published, click "Journals" from the library home page and enter the journal title.
  • You can also browse by journal title or subject here.
  • To search the majority of the library's electronic collection with one search, use Summon.



Finding Books and Ebooks

Search the online catalog for books, DVDs, e-books, audio books, etc. searching use more general search terms than you would when searching a database of journal articles. 

When you find an item that looks useful, check the subject headings - you can click on them to see similar items.  Also, it may be useful to click on the call number in the record. This allows you to virtually browse the titles as though you were standing in the stacks, except you'll also see any e-books in the collection.

There are thousands of e-books available to you through Rudisill Library. To find more e-books in the library catalog, use our advanced search options - select e-books as your material type. 

You can also search the contents of the library catalog using Summon.

Boolean Searches or Combining Keywords

A Boolean search combines keywords with operators (AND, NOT, and OR) to produce more relevant results when you are searching. 

Truncation and Wildcards

Some databases allow certain symbols to be used for searching multiple forms of a word. The Help section of each database will tell you if these symbols will work for seaches in their databases.

Plurals -- A plus sign (+) added to the end of a word instructs the database to search for singular and plural forms of a word. Example: holiday+ retrieves holiday or holidays

Truncation -- An asterisk (*) added to the end of a root word instructs the database to search for all forms of a word. Example: house* retrieves house, houses, households, etc.

Wildcards -- A wildcard is a symbol used to represent any character. The pound symbol (#) is often used as a wildcard. Example: wom#n retrieves woman or women

Finding Academic Online Resources

The following is a list of authoritative websites that may be useful in finding additional information on your topic:

  • CogPrints: Cognitive science and related fields, such as neuroscience, psychology,etc.
  • ERIC: U.S. Department of Education--publications related to education.
  • Google Scholar: Filters search results to include only academic resources.
  • National Bureau of Economic Research: Nonprofit research center’s site for publications related to statistics, economic behavior and public policy.
  • National Criminal Justice Reference Service: U.S. Department of Justice--publications related to crime, victim assistance and public safety.
  • PhilPapers: Philosophy Documentation Center--indexes resources for research in philosophy.
  • PubMed: National Institutes of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine--research in biomedicine and the life sciences.
  • A gateway to scientific research conducted by the Federal government with access to more than 60 databases and 15 agencies.
  • SciTech: U.S. Department of Energy--full-text articles, multimedia resources and data sets covering topics ranging from biology and engineering to national defense and power generation.
  • Social Science Research Network: nIcludes citations for more than 500,000 articles covering research the social science s.
  • WorldWideScience:  U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information--searchable catalog of international scientific research databases.

Citation Searching

Citation searching is a technique used to gain scholarly insight and find resources relating to a particular topic. Using a particularly good resource you have found for a project,

Look backwards - at the reference list. An examination of the resources cited in an article or book can:

  • lead you to other resources that discuss this topic.
  • give you a snapshot of the thinking and research available at the time of publication.
  • reveal what ideas or theories have influenced a researcher.

Look forwards - find out if other researchers have cited this resource. This can give you insight into:

  • the impact of the resource on the scholarly landscape - how it has (or has not) shaped subsequent research and scholarship.
  • look for "Cited by" or "Times Cited" features in some databases - or get access to a citation tracker.