Step 1: Choosing a topic
Remember to check the Need Ideas? page if you’re looking for possible topics.
Also, start reading the newspaper and listening to, or watching, the news! You have access to free copies of USA Today, The New York Times, and The York Daily Record from one of the newspaper boxes on campus.
Try looking through the current issues of newspapers in the Press Display database.
Step 2: Understanding your topic
The articles in the subject encyclopedias in Gale Virtual Reference Library and Oxford Reference Online provide excellent overviews for most topics. You will usually find references or suggested books and articles for further reading at the end of the articles. Use these suggestions for additional sources of information on your topic.
You could also try the following sources of background information:
Step 3: Finding Books
You can find books, DVDs, CDs, and links to electronic resources in The CAT.
The loan period for students is the entire semester and undergraduates may have a maximum of 200 items checked out.
If the item you want is not at the York campus, request it by clicking “I Want It.” You will be asked for your Access ID and password. Select York as the pickup location and then click Place Hold. Books usually arrive at our campus within 2-3 days.
You’ll be notified via e-mail when your books arrive. You can also choose to receive library notifications as text messages.
Step 4: Finding Articles
Penn State Libraries subscribe to hundreds of databases, so you should not have a problem finding articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers. The problem may be finding the appropriate database to search for your topic.
That’s where the Research Guides will be helpful. Choose the broad category from the list to see all the available guides in a specific subject area.
For example, if you are a business major, choose the Business and Economics category and then pick a guide that fits your particular area of interest. If you are interested in marketing, the Marketing Research Guide suggests Business Source Premier database as an “essential article database for business research” so that would be an excellent place to search for articles on a marketing topic.
Use LionSearch like you would use Google. Enter your search terms and find library resources for your topic.