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Less Searching, More Finding

by Jessica Riedmueller on 2019-09-11T13:42:00-05:00 | Comments

There's no getting around the fact that research is difficult. First you have to identify a topic, then you have to narrow that topic, then you have to find the research, read the research, and write a paper incorporating your research as supporting evidence for your claims. Add to that, you are often asked to find peer-reviewed literature using only UCA library resources, and now the thought of starting any part of the process is exhausting.

Well, guess what? The library reference desk is here to help!

A reference librarian teaches a student to use the library website

What can a librarian do for me?

Librarians are expert researchers, and we know the ins-and-outs of finding good, quality research. We can help you:

  • Determine the best database for your topic or field of study
  • Identify the type of article you have found (peer-reviewed, popular, quantitative, qualitative, original research, systematic reviews...you get the idea)
  • Figure out a search strategy that will help you find research quickly and efficiently
  • Find articles from a full or partial citation

Why do you call it the reference desk?

Good question, let's briefly talk library history. Back before Google (or even the Internet) existed, library reference desks were the hottest places around to find the answer to such burning questions as:

  • Can I get a list of all the books ever written about the circus?
  • Which county in Arkansas has the most cows per person?
  • Where's the best burger in the state?
  • Does this look infected?

The term "reference desk" is a holdover from the early days when librarians would often consult reference books to answers these questions. Today, most of these questions can be answered by a quick Google search. Though we still answer these "quick fact" questions, we spend more of our time providing in-depth research assistance.

(PS: if you want to see more fun reference questions, check out this Mental Floss article and be glad for the anonymity of the Internet)

I'm sold! How do I find/use the reference desk?

You can find the reference desk across from the front entrance of the library (near the Study Abroad office and the puzzle table). We have librarians ready to help you from 8 am to 7 pm. Not on campus/can't make it to the library? We are also available:

  • Via phone by calling 501-450-5224
  • Online through the Ask Us email form (monitored Monday-Friday, 8 am to 5 pm)
  • For one-on-one appointments through the Research Coach program (including online appointments through Google Hangouts)

Happy researching, and we hope to see you soon!


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