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Get It Done Guide to Undergraduate Research

Got a research assignment coming up? We're here to help.

Finding Sources

Finding Sources

Finding sources for your research paper can be a painful process if you aren't familiar with search strategies and navigating library resources.

Thankfully, we're here to provide some guidance to make finding the sources you need a lot easier.

Search Strategies

If you've ever Googled something before, then you probably already have a few search strategies up your sleeve. However, search strategies for research goes a little deeper than your everyday searching, especially if you're digging into databases.

To learn more about developing search strategies and fine-tuning your database searches, explore our Search Strategies page.

Search @ UMD Libraries

The University of Maryland Libraries provides vast access to books, articles, databases, and other resources to help you in your research. Librarians are also available to help you develop your research topic and dive deeper into library resources.

Document Your Sources

We've all been there: you remember an amazing source that would fit in perfectly in your paper but you can't remember where you saved it or where it is online. It's important to document and take notes on your sources as you find them. It doesn't have to be a perfectly cited source page but it's important to make sure you're saving titles, authors, and permalinks, so you can come back to the source later in your research.

Scholarly Source Terminology

Article? Journal? Periodical? Database? Use our glossary to break it down.

Scholarly article - A description of the findings of a particular study. Scholarly articles are usually published in academic journals, range 15-30 pages, and are written by one or more scholars. AKA: academic article, scholarly source

Journal - A publication focused around a specific discipline or area of study. Released a several times a year (quarterly, biannually) and contains several research articles. Scholarly articles are published in academic journals.

Periodical - Just a fancy term for a publication that is issued regularly. Academic journals are considered periodicals, but popular sources can also be periodicals, like newspapers or magazines.

Database - A tool that indexes large collections allowing the user to search through countless scholarly articles and the journals where they were published. Databases are not just a library tool, but academic databases index the scholarly journals and their articles so that you can search and find the perfect source for your research.