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  • Regardless of vaccination status, MASKS are required inside the library at all times.
  • Good luck preparing for finals! Remember, the library staff is available to help you finish the semester on a strong note!
  • *Lindsey Wilson Library: Research Help

    We are here to help!

    We want to see you succeed in school and life!

    The library has a wealth of knowledge and an extensive "toolbox" that we want to share with you.
    We are available and ready to help with any question you may have!
    Don't be shy!
    Stop by any time or send us a message if we are unavailable.
    Tim and Ashley are your reference librarians.
    Greg, Kim, Amelia, and Hunter are also here for you!

    Topic LibGuides to check out.

    Topics on this page.

    How to Select or Find Topics


    Use the resources below in the beginning stages of the research process. Each link provides steps and processes for research, as well as topic ideas.

    TIP: The librarians love CREDO Reference as our electronic encyclopedia.


    Whether you are given a list of topics to choose from or selecting a topic of choice, your selection is incredibly important.  For instance, if you select a topic that does not interest you or that is too broad or narrow, it will impact the finished product of your work.  Below are some strategies to utilize when deciding on a topic.

    • Brainstorm
    • Select a topic that will have enough supporting information
    • Select a topic that will be manageable (i.e. not too broad or narrow)
    • Use keywords and synonyms effectively
    • Remember that topics with research must be malleable (subject to change throughout the research process)
    • Define your topic
    • State the context of your topic (Remember that the same topic when applied to different subject areas have different meanings)
    • Understand your topic (Do reference research to ensure you know a little about what you are writing about before beginning the research process)
    • Use your topic to generate a thesis statement



    Scholarly Vs Popular Sources

    Scholarly Journals

    "Academic" or "Research"

    Popular Newspaper & Magazines

    "General" or "Journalistic"

    Authors are named and usually affiliated with an institution. Authors are potentially anonymous.
    Authors are subject matter experts. Authors are journalists.
    Articles are peer-reviewed. Articles are not peer-reviewed.
    Citation lists are lengthy and extensive. Citation lists are little to non-existent.
    Advertisements are limited. Advertisements are everywhere.
    Articles are lengthy and very detailed. Articles are shorter and focus on general points.
    Issues are published on a less frequent basis (semi-annually, quarterly, monthly). Issues are published frequently (daily, weekly, monthly).
    Target audiences are professionals, academics, and students. Target audiences are the general public.
    Titles typically include words like bulletin, journal, or review. Titles do not typically include words like  bulletin, journal, or review.
    Except "The Wall Street Journal," which is not a scholarly publication.


    Primary Sources and Gov Docs

    The Library has two departments with resources available that are considered primary sources.

    1) Archives & Special Collections

    Learn about history of LWC, the city of Columbia, the commonwealth of Kentucky, and more! Ask one of the library staff members to access this collection. It has restricted access in order to preserve the collection. Some of the items are more than 150 years old.

    For more information, click this link.

    2) Government Documents (Gov Docs)

    Katie Murrell Library participates in the Federal Deposit Library Program (FDLP) and is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. Government documents, which provides the public with direct access to government information in practically every federal government entity. To access the FDLP, click on the logo image below.

    For assistance with Gov Docs in the library, contact Amelia Thomas at or click this link for the Gov Docs LibGuide, which has more information on this department.

    Search for Gov Docs online:

    1. at GovInfo provides free public access to official publications from all three branches of our federal government; or
    2. in the Catalog of US Government Publications (CGP). CGP provides online access to historical and current publications.

    What are primary sources?

    Primary sources are first-hand accounts. These sources did directly witness what happened or participate in an event. For example, witnesses create original documents like the Constitution or watched events like the Lindsey football team winning their first championship. 

    Check out the library's in-house archives and special collections department for primary sources for materials dating back to the 1860s!

    What are secondary sources?

    Secondary sources are second-hand accounts. These sources did not directly witness what happened or participate in an event. For example, visitors to the Corvette Museum learn about the sinkhole that happened there in 2014. They share their knowledge with friends and family because they learned about it *from a primary source*, which is the museum.

    For additional information, check out this online guide:

    These databases are available through the Katie Murrell Library and allow you to find resources that are considered primary sources.

    These are other websites you can use to find primary sources.

    CRAAP Test

    Evaluating Online Resources

    There is lots of information out there nowadays, but how do we know what is good information versus bad? Let's make sure that those sources you use for your assignments are reliable and credible. There are many sources out there claiming to the real information when, really, they aren't. To make sure they are not "crappy," let's apply the CRAAP test!

    Use the following criteria to evaluating websites and other online resources when completing research. *Note: Some criteria may weigh more than others depending on what information you need.

    • Currency 
      • How recent was the information published?
      • Has it been updated or revised recently?
      • Are the links functional?
    • Relevance 
      • Is the content related to your topic?
      • Is it at an appropriate reading level?
      • Who is the audience?
      • Would you be comfortable using this source?
    • Authority 
      • Who is the author, publisher, source, and/or sponsor?
      • What are the author’s credentials?
      • Can you contact someone about the source?
      • What does the URL reveal (.gov, .edu, .org, .com, .net, etc.)?
    • Accuracy 
      • Any spelling or grammar errors?
      • Is it free of emotion and unbiased?
      • Is there supporting evidence? Can you verify the information from another source or personal knowledge?
      • Has it been reviewed or refereed?
    • Purpose
      • Does it sell, inform, teach, entertain, or persuade?
      • Are the intentions clear?
      • Is it fact, opinion, or propaganda?
      • Are there any political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
      • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

    No one should ever have crappy information in any capacity. Remember this acronym and you will always find good stuff!

    Source: Blakeslee, Sarah (2004) "The CRAAP Test," LOEX Quarterly: Vol. 31 : No. 3 , Article 4. Available at:

    Test your newfound knowledge with these websites.

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