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Happy young black male student in a library

Navigating The Library For Research Writing

Submitted by Editor on 15 May 2024

By Chidiebere Sullivan Nwuguru

Writing a research paper is one of the indispensable responsibilities that await every student; for professional researchers, it is a primary and recurring routine. However, no matter how daunting this task may appear, anyone who is grounded in the ways of sourcing the materials required for research writing will always have no difficulty completing the task; it is therefore, no doubt that the library is one of the resourceful places that researchers should leverage for this purpose.

Every research begins with a question whose quest for answers is aimed at solving the problem(s) raised by the research; hence, the interest raised by research should ignite the curiosity of the researcher. It could be the co-morbidity of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the enigmatic travel of electrons, the visceral nature of some histories, or even the intricate tapestry of the literary world; whatever the reason may be, this initial spark of interest is what fuels the course of the research. It is thus, very important that the curiosity behind every research is very clear, so that defining the path to sourcing answers to the questions raised by the research, remains easy and less complex.

Once the research and its purpose have been clearly defined, the next step is to leverage the library, and this could begin with venturing into the library catalog. The library is a veritable repository of the raw materials that are essential for research writing, and the library catalog is a digital grimoire which holds the secret to where the answers to the questions raised by the research are housed. With the library catalog, it becomes easier for the researcher to enter keywords specific to their research topic and interest; this will help them gain access to relevant resources such as journals, books, and other materials that can be helpful in the course of their research. However, to fully explore the dividends of the library catalog, the researcher should endeavour to master the necessary keywords that are relevant to their research topic.

Serious young black male student in a library studying


Beyond the physical space of the library, most libraries have advanced to incorporating digital databases as a way of facilitating their online presence; one can therefore, easily surf through the vortex of scholarly articles, peer-reviewed journals, and multimedia resources by accessing the digital databases of the library. To even make things easier, each database is built to house related information and could be seen as a specialised cabinet of knowledge pertaining to a given realm of study. For example, literature, history, science, etc, — each with its own database available for the exploration of the researcher.

Another vital aspect of the library that most researchers tend to often overlook, is the knowledge that could be gathered from a simple interaction with the research librarians. It is very pertinent to approach the with one’s research queries; most times the answers you seek at a specific point in your research work is with them. Also, they can be the guardians to direct you through the complex search strategies, recommend  hidden and appropriate databases, and even go as far as helping you navigate through the important steps in leveraging the library properly for your research purpose.

Finally, having gathered all the necessary materials and information needed for writing the research, it will be the perfect time to commence the course. Analyse the materials and information meticulously; carefully dissecting and weaving the whole information into a comprehensive and compelling thesis with lots of potency. With the approval of your research supervisor, you can further with the publication; who knows? — we might just end up having the next groundbreaking research from you.