Get the most out of your reference appointment

The reference librarians at MacPhaidin Library are eager to help you navigate the research process and find the right sources for your assignment.  Have a research appointment coming up?  If not, you can schedule one.

Here are a few things you can do to make process run smoothly and get the most out of your appointment:

  1. Be as specific as possible.
    Sometimes researchers aren't sure how to ask for what they really want, so they are sent to sources that don’t answer their questions.  If you’re researching the history of math education in elementary schools, asking for “books about education” will provide you with a lot of irrelevant resources.  Give the librarian as much detail as possible – it will make the research process much easier!
  2. Prepare for your appointment.
    Make note of the date, time, and location of your meeting.  Bring all the necessary tools and information to your appointment.  This may include your topic, class assignment, laptop, and/or a notebook and pen.
  3. Show the class assignment to the librarian.
    Class assignments contain valuable information about the types of sources your professor wants you to consult, the minimum number that are required, and what citation style you’re expected to use.  Share that information with your librarian so she can help you meet your professor’s requirements.
  4. Provide as much information as you know.
    Have you already tried researching your topic?  Tell the librarian what you have already found, where you have looked, and what search terms you used.  This will help her to avoid retracing your steps and can save you both some time.
  5. Be patient
    Finding the right information takes time and perseverance!  Some research questions can be tricky – and it may take additional time to locate the best sources.  If the research process takes longer than your allotted appointment time, give the librarian your email address so that she may follow-up with additional resources.