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Starting Library Research: Getting Started

Steps to successful library research.

Getting Started

If you find library research frustrating, you may be leaving out one or more of the essential preparation steps that need to be done before beginning research projects. In this LibGuide you will be introduced to four important research preparation steps:

1. Select a research topic.

2. Define the research question.

3. Determine your information requirements.

4. Select appropriate resources.

These steps may seem straightforward, but often students who simply jump in and attempt to do library research before they have a clear idea of exactly what they are trying to research soon get lost in the PROCESS of research; as a consequence, the outcome of their research is often poor.

We recommend that you take a little time in the beginning to complete these four recommended research preparation steps. If you do, we guarantee that you will save time, your information gathering process will be far less frustrating, and your research results will be significantly better.


Online encyclopedias are a good starting point for research.

Print Reference Sources


There are print reference sources covering all subject areas that are also good starting points for research. The following general encyclopedias are shelved in the reference collection on the first floor of Library North.

Encyclopaedia Britannica   AE 5 E363 2007  

 Encyclopedia Americana    AE 5 E333 2005  

World Book Encyclopedia    AE 5  W55 2005

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300