Skip to main content


Research Steps

Before starting your research, take a few moments to think about your assignment.

  • What key words or phrases define your topic?
  • Can you list some synonyms?
  • What types of materials are you looking for?
  • Are you looking for the latest information or can you use sources published within the last ten years?
Spending a few minutes thinking about your topic will save you lots of time when you begin your research. For more information, see our Doing LIbrary Research - Choosing and Defining Your Topic page. 

Types of Sources

In the field of Education:

Primary Sources: include original research studies or original work generally published in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals and books authored by a researcher or educational theorist. Literature reviews are NOT primary sources.

Secondary Sources: include literature reviews and books or other sources that summarize and "repackage" another's work.

Encyclopedias and reference sources that summarize, condense, and define other's work, theories, or ideas are "tertiary" resources. These sources are great for background information. 

What Sources Should I Use?

The reference shelf is a great place to start research and gather background information. Materials include:

  • specialized encyclopedias
  • handbooks
  • dictionaries

Click the "Reference Shelf" tab for more information

Articles can provide the most recent information on a topic, and can include:

  • original research
  • current information about trends
  • overviews of best practices

Click the "Find Articles" tab for more information


  • summarize trends and best practices
  • provide lessons and activities
  • describe teaching methods

Click the "Find Books" tab for more information

Library Home Information Literacy
Library Catalog Library Forms
Research Databases Services & Staff E-Mail:
Library Hours University Archives Tel: 267-341-3315