This guide is designed to give you an overview of Belk Library's research resources as well as how to get help with the research process no matter the project or assignment. The boxes in the main column offer general information on academic libraries, Belk Library's website, how to find books and articles in Belk Library, being savvier users of the web, and evaluating sources once you find them. The boxes in the right column offer additional resources and ways to get help. Finally, at the end of the guide, get a quick overview of the various spaces and technology the library has to offer.
Note: when this guide is viewed on a mobile device it will display as one single column as opposed to two.
The library website is your portal to resources, research, and service information from Belk Library but if you're new to it, it can be overwhelming. In addition to containing information about the library like contact information for librarians, hours for our building, and descriptions of our many services, you have to pass through our website to access our electronic research resources like databases. The databases and the research within them (articles, ebooks, etc.) have multiple access points that this diagram attempts to illustrate.
You can find a book by searching APPsearch, our online catalog, or by visitng a particular section in the library and browsing the shelves for books on a similar topic. APPsearch and the online catalog are both accessible via the tabbed searchbox in the center of our homepage. APPsearch is the default search. Access the online catalog by clicking the "Books and Media" tab in the searchbox. In addition to physical books, our online catalog offers access to ebooks and streaming films, as well.
What do you need to know once you find a book in the catalog?
If you need a book we don't have, request it via interlibrary loan.
Here is a short video tutorial on using APPsearch to find books and ebooks:
Your two primary options for finding articles are 1) using our single-search portal, APPsearch, which searches many of our most popular research databases at once; or 2) identifying individual research databases to search. Both options are available 24/7 via our website.
To maximize productivity, before you use any of our tools, be as prepared as possible with a list of search terms and a specific idea of what you're trying to find.
If you need an article we don't have, request it via interlibrary loan.
Here is a tutorial on using APPsearch to find articles. For individual databases, you can apply much of what is covered in the APPsearch tutorial as the features are similar from database to database. If you need help, contact a librarian!
When it comes to research (personal, professional, or even academic), many people start by going to the 'open web' and use their favorite search engine to find information (usually, Google). While this may be all a person needs for many topics, it's helpful to know that what is available through a Google search is only a tiny fraction of available information on any given topic. It's also helpful to know that Google (and social media platforms) are run by a complex set of algorithms created by for-profit corporations. You may not think this matters much for you but it does.
Think back to the video from the Online Library Component explaining the open and deep webs. These short videos take a deeper dive on the open web:
Now that you're more aware of your surroundings on the open web, what are some steps you can take to find the best information on any topic?
What people need most when confronted with a claim which may not be 100% true are steps they can take to get closer to the truth. This steps in this process only take a few moments to apply and can be a lifesaver:
In general, you can try these moves in any order, and at each stage if you find success your work might be done.
The Research Advisory Program (RAP) provides one-on-one research assistance for students. Sessions are conducted in person, by phone, or online.
Created by librarians, library guides (arranged by Course and by Subject) are shortcuts to finding resources owned by the Appalachian State University Library and material freely available on the Web.
Unfortunately, there is not a research guide for every class.
Get support at any stage of the writing process from experienced professionals
Wikipedia is rarely an acceptable source to cite in a college research paper. However, Wikipedia is a wonderful source for background information about research topics and a source for some of the research already done on certain topics.
Don't forget that, in addition to research resources and support, Belk Library also offers many study, creation, and discovery spaces as well as cutting edge technology - all for free