A: Getting Started

An excellent starting point for your research is the Drain-Jordan Library (website library.wvstateu.edu). Whether you come in to use print resources such as general or specialized encyclopedias or you begin your search online though the library's databases, you can rest assured that the library resources are credible and valid. Now let's get started.

A-1: Topic Selection and Basic Information

The majority of your research will be dictated by class assignments. Whatever type of paper (assignment) is required, you will need a topic.


By selecting a topic that appeals to you, the assignment becomes more meaningful and engaging. If it is a stimulating topic for you it becomes less dull and retains your interest.

After topic selection you will probably need to develop a thesis statement. A thesis statement is an idea or concept you're trying to prove.

For example, the topic is gun control.

But a thesis statement related to gun control could be "Lack of gun control results in increased murder rates in the United States."

At this point you should be ready to begin some basic research. For an overview of your chosen topic you may want to check for library books and/or ebooks to get background and general history of the topic. Visit the library's web site (library.wvstateu.edu) and click on the "Library Catalog Search" box. Searching the Library Catalog will retrieve both print and electronic book titles. The Reference Department (1st floor of the library) has general and specialized encyclopedias which can also help you get started.

After you have done some basic research, the majority of your material will usually be from journal articles; most of collection is available through the library's databases, which are available both on campus and off campus. If you click on the second box at the right: More Resources, you will find more information about them.