Understanding your WKU Libraries and that looming research project

by Abby Ponder 

Well, we’re all back from Fall Break now (or, at least, most of us are) and that can only mean one thing: those mid-term and final deadlines that initially seemed so far away? They’re approaching–fast. And for a lot of students, that final project will be coming in the form of a research paper. (But have no fear, the Writing Center is here!)

So, you’re staring at this blank slate of an assignment with no clue what to do next. You have a topic, maybe, but all that supporting research? Where are you supposed to get it? Well, my friend, the library is your new best friend when it comes to getting started on your research. There are floors upon floors of shelves upon shelves, and lots of friendly people there to assist you along the way. Books are unfortunately becoming an underutilized resource so make sure you take the time to utilize them; you can find a lot of great information in between the lines.

Remember these guys? They knew to search between the lions.
Photo courtesy of Mississippi Kids Count (http://goo.gl/BDnxAm)

If you haven’t paid a visit to WKU’s very own library yet (Helms-Cravens), it is located in the center of WKU’s campus between Grise and Garrett. If you’ve ever visited Java City for a quick caffeine fix, you’re in the right place! Just travel through the Confucius Institute and you’re in library territory. (Or enter through the Commons at Cravens, located between FAC and Grice.) If you’re not on main campus, though, the regional campuses each have their own libraries, too.

However, we know that getting into the library isn’t always an option. In that case, the WKU library has extensive online databases at your disposal. On the library homepage there is an option to explore Electronic Resources. In most cases, students will use the Databases option, though there are a variety of others to explore, too. Once you’re in the Databases, you can opt to use EBSCOHost, Jstore, Newstand, etc. (If you are not using a university computer you may be prompted to enter your NetID and password, but from then on you’ll have complete access.) From that point, you’ll be able to search to your heart’s content.
The search engine for EBSCOHost, which can be found here.
After you have found your treasured resources, whether they be books from the library or journals collected via some of the databases, there are a variety of citation formats to be aware of that depend on the style guide in question (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc) and the source that you’re using (online journals, novels, newspapers, etc). For a quick look at the more common style guides, the Purdue Owl has some great guides to MLAAPA , and AP, while the Chicago Manuel of Style has its very own guide available on its website.
Throughout the whole process, though, don’t forget that the WKU Writing Center is here to assist you along the way! We encourage you to schedule an appointment with us at your convenience, but we are also available for drop-in appointments on a first come, first serve basis.

Happy Writing!

This post was originally published on October 6, 2014.
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