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Introduction to Library Research: Home


This guide will introduce you to using various library resources to complete your research.

Use the tabs at the top to zero in on specific areas of research.


picture of boy in Library with a lot of books

...can be overwhelming! So, browse this guide for helpful tips that will save you time and make it less frustrating.


The elements of Research

First, it is necessary to realize that there are many elements to research: your topic, background sources, books, journal articles, websites, etc. Each of these is a part of your eventual report, paper, presentation, or finished work. Research rarely follows a linear path, so you may find yourself going back and forth between many sources/keywords/readings before you are finally ready to write your paper.

Before you start...

A research question or topic can seem overwhelming so take a few moments to think about your assignment before you go searching for sources.  The following are some first steps to take:

  • Read your assignment over closely to really understand what you have to do. Is your paper 5 pages or 15? Is your topic broad or narrow? Will books or journal articles be more suitable for this topic? Maybe you need both! If you have any questions about the assignment, now is the time to ask your professor or TA for some clarification.
  • Start brainstorming keywords. Whether you are searching for books, articles, or data, good and varied keywords will help you in your searching.
  • Start your research with a guide. There is one for each subject offered at Lakehead and these will lead you to background sources, article databases, etc.
  • Keep track of your sources. Zotero can help with this step. You can sort your citations into folders and find them when you need them (like the night before when you are writing your paper!).
  • Ask for help. Book a research consultation with your liaison librarian.


Using the drop down, choose a subject guide. These guides list key databases, background sources and much more. Think of the guide as a shortcut to the sources you need!

More Help Options

Visit us at a Services Desk at your library for quick questions.

Use Ask a Librarian to get online help.

Book a Research Consultation with your subject specialist.

Scan our list of online guides/tutorials for self-paced learning.

Contact us at:

Paterson: or 807-343-8225

Education library: or 807-343-8718

Orillia (University Avenue): 705-330-4008, x2250 or

Orillia (Heritage Place): 705-330-4008, x2252 or