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Getting Ready for Research

This guide provides an overview of basic research techniques and resources.

Research Help

Need further assistance? Email us or make an appointment.


Getting Started

Many of us are accustomed to quickly entering search terms into Google to find information. However, searching for information in EGCC’s library databases will be more successful with a little bit of planning. We recommend following the five steps of the research process listed below.

The Research Process:

For a more in-depth explanation of each step, please continue reading and navigating the tabs of this guide.

Helpful Videos

Resource Types

There are many different types of resources you may come across during your research in the library. Click on the tabs above to learn about these different types of resources.

Books have long been a staple in academic study. In fact, they are one of the very first information sources that people are introduced to in school. You may hear some people say that books are on their way out, however, this is not exactly true! In some cases, a publisher will only print their information in book format in order to avoid plagiarism or content theft.

Although books may not be as current as electronic resources, they are often reliable sources of information due to the editorial oversight that professional and academic publishers provide.

If you are an on-campus student, you can limit your search to include only our print collection by using the Print Books tab in our Gateway Search box on the library homepage. 

Print Books tab on Gateway Search

For projects that require current or recent information, consider using periodicals and journals. These information sources are published on a regular basis and are updated more frequently than books. Often, periodicals may be the first place that new information is shared. However, it is important to note that there are several types of periodicals that serve different purposes and audiences.

Popular Magazines and Newspapers are resources that are designed to entertain or provide readers with a variety of general interest topics. Popular magazines and newspapers are typically geared toward non-expert readers. These resources will contain shorter articles written in non-technical language and contain a significant number of consumer-oriented ads.

Professional and Trade Periodicals are special interest publications that have a defined focus (e.g. business or industry specific) and are geared to the members of that trade or industry.  Articles focus on problems or concerns within an industry or profession. Often these articles are straightforward and shorter in length. Like popular magazines, trade publications usually contain ads for industry specific products and services.

Scholarly and Academic Journals are intended for an academic audience. Academic journals are published less often than popular and trade publications. Scholarly articles tend to use technical language related to their field of research and are usually well sourced.

Academic and library databases often contain large collections of information resources, such as journal articles, books, and videos. These collections vary in what types information they contain and how recently these resources were published. 

While articles in academic databases are current, many publishers place a delay or waiting period on their materials that limits the availability of the full-text articles for a certain period of time. Therefore, to access the most recent articles from some publishers, you may need to visit the journal's official website.

Tip: To check the full-text availability of your title click on the Publications link at the top of the blue bar in our Gateway Search and look up your title. Full Text Access can be viewed below the selected title. In the example below, you can see that this title has a waiting period that lasts for 18 months.

Websites are publicly available online resources that do not require your EGCC login for access. Websites can provide useful and up-to-date information; however, websites also are often difficult information sources to evaluate for credibility since there is not usually a structured publishing process. For more information about how to evaluate a website, please complete the tutorial listed below or visit Step 4: Evaluating Your Sources.

Tip: Professional and Trade association websites often post the work of their members and can be valuable sources of current information. 

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