How to Master Research

How to Master Research

You can become a research expert and the librarians at the IU East Campus Library are here to help! Doing library research may seem quite complex at first.  How do you distinguish what the scholarly sources are, and where to find them?  What about ‘primary’ sources?  The interface of a library research database can look more complicated than you are used to.  However, in order to get better information for academic work, you need better tools.  You need to know where to look, how to choose the words you will search with, what syntax to use, how to exclude information you don’t want, and how to critically evaluate what you get back.

The library has created a multidisciplinary guide to research, to help you progress to mastery of your research in any subject area.  The first page is about basic search skills – how to conduct academic research, how to word your searches, how to limit to the material that is relevant to you, and more.  It walks you through, step by step, how to build a richer and more complex search that will quickly connect you to the best resources.  Specific instructional videos by IU East Librarians are included, so whether you learn best by reading and doing, or by watching someone else first, you can advance to become a confident, general researcher.

Still, general research skills don’t make you a master.  Each discipline has tools unique to it, and skillsets which are required for true proficiency.  A nurse looking at drug interactions, an economist examining financial ratios, a law student ‘shepardizing’ a legal case to see if it’s still binding, or a psychologist crafting a meaningful test – each needs skills and tools distinctive to that field.  The subsequent pages of the guide help you develop into a true research expert, identifying the best places to get information for your specific subject, and the specialized types of information a professional in your field will pursue.  Each page also builds off the general skills learned before, showing you how to hone and refine your research until it is second nature to you.  There are pages for the major disciplines taught at IU East – Business, Communications, Criminal Justice, Education, English and Literature, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, History, Informatics, Mathematics, Nursing, Political Science, Psychology, Science, Social Work, and Sociology.

If you need help anywhere on your research journey, don’t hesitate to Ask us! at or via the link in the guide.

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