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What Is Research? Use Our Online Resources to Get Started!

What Is Research? Use Our Online Resources to Get Started!

January 6, 2023

For a lot of people, hearing the word “research” might trigger anxiety or fear. You might not know where to start or what tools to use during your process of investigation and exploration. But fear not! The public library is well equipped with everything you need to conduct a thorough and well-balanced investigation into any topic.

At MCPL, one of the most logical places to start is the Research and Learning tab of the website. From here, you are connected to over 200 easy-to-use online resources. Not sure where to go from here? Try the Browse Subjects tab where they are organized by topic.

Depending on where you are in your search, it might be useful to throw a wide net and see what you catch before narrowing your topic. You might start searching all our online resources at the same time by using our “Discovery Service” (search features). On the Research and Learning page, you can type in the blue search box that says “Find resources…” or by scrolling down to another white search box that says “I want to research…” Both search options will allow you to search the Library’s full online catalog and all the online resources for articles simultaneously.

It’s important to remember that research is a process, not a race. It’s very normal to go through a period of frustration while you try to find what you’re looking for. You might have an idea of something very specific, but it could be hard to find. Or sometimes you might not even know exactly what you’re looking for until you find it.

For example, let’s say that I’ve been assigned a research paper for a class. I decide I want to research “cats,” for my topic. That’s a great topic! But if I search “cats” in the catalog, I’m going to get thousands of results that don’t really fit my needs. So, instead I can use Advanced Search to weed out things that aren’t age appropriate or relevant. I start a general search on cats and start reading different articles and books that interest me. My search will gradually become more and more specific. Slowly, I start to discover that I’m really interested in the history of cats in Egypt.

As I’m searching, I find this amazing article about a tomb that was found full of mummified cats, and I decide that this is the most interesting thing that I’ve ever discovered, and I’m able to find lots of great information. Bam! I have my topic.

The public library is an amazing place that helps make information accessible to everyone for lots of different purposes. Feel free to check out our online resources for your research needs, and never hesitate to ask a librarian or library worker for help!


Meghan B.
Electronic Resources Librarian

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