How to Do Library Research for Your Academic Paper

When tasked with an academic research paper, the next step is to find research materials and sources where you will get credible information to include in your paper. While easy internet access has made it possible to provide many sources, many students opt to do research using online materials.

Did you know that a library, too, is a useful resource where you can get credible research materials for your paper? With plenty of different books, you can easily find quality content to use in your research paper. However, the main concern is how to do library research effectively and finish your paper as required.

In this article, we feature how to use library resources once you have your research topic.

Library research: what is library research

Library research is an action a person or a student takes to use resources from the library to get useful information for research purposes or to get answers to the given questions. Reliable library research sources can be in the form of printed books, online using the internet, past papers, magazines, and scholarly publications, among many others.

The purpose of the library is to give the researcher a wide range of materials and sources to use when researching to find information.

Library research paper: search strategies for research

Before you take a step and decide to use the library for research purposes, you must, first of all, establish how to do research in the library for productive research and avoid wasting time. Therefore, the following strategies will help you determine how to conduct research effectively.

  1. Scan or browse through the books

When you have a better understanding of your topic and subtopics, the first step is to go through the books on the library shelves quickly as you check the contents. While scanning through the books can take most of your time, make sure you define your title and focus on specific categories of books to find the sources faster.

  1. Focus on useful books

Sometimes, it can be hard to locate a particular book based on the nature of the topic. Should you experience such, shift the focus to books that have general ideas on many topics. Such sources include:

  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Almanacs
  • Guide to reference sources
  • Who’s who in America

While some tutors might be against citing some of these sources for reference, it doesn’t mean you avoid them. You can read and get useful insights into a given context.

  1. Use updated sources

While you will find reliable articles, magazines, and journals, among many others, in the library for your research, all these materials should be up-to-date to ensure you use credible information. Therefore, you can use the periodical approach to get the latest published materials. Again, make sure you focus on sources that range in your niche to save time.

  1. Check the credibility of the sources

The library has mixed sources you can use for your research. However, you need to produce the best research paper, and this means using reliable and credible sources, especially when using books.  

You can verify the credibility of the books by reading through the passages to find crucial information, including:

  • Abstracts and findings, usually located at the beginning of the book
  • Check the preface, intros, and conclusions as a preview
  • Check reviews, summaries, and notes concerning the book
  • Check if the book is well-referenced or cited
  • Check the headings and subheadings

Checking the above highlights will show you a professionally written book that is ideal for academic purposes.


A library is a resourceful center for every student conducting research on a research paper. Therefore, make sure you understand how to conduct research in the library using the above tips.