Skip to main content

VT ENGL1106 course template: Getting started

Tips for Using Library Resources

This guide will walk you through the process of searching for, selecting, accessing, and using the research resoruces that you need for CS 3604, and beyond!  

A few tips to get you started:

1.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Simply contact your librarian directly ------------------------> 

2.  If you're doing research from off campus, make sure you use the Off Campus Sign In option.  

3.  Use Summon to conduct a Google-like search of most of our library resources.  While it's not a disciplinary database, like the ones that I recommend to you on this guide, it can help you gain a broad overview of a particular research topic or question.  

4.  When searching Summon, Google Scholar, or any of the databases that I recommend, break your research question into keywords, rather than typing in the entire sentence or question.  Click here to read more about strategies for creating good keyword searches.  

5.  Use the Computer Science subject guide to identify relevant databases. 

6.  When trying to access articles and other resources, look for the Get VText box:

Writing Center at Virginia Tech

The Writing Center is located in Newman Library's second floor Learning Commons, just past the elevators. 

It is open to all Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, at all levels. We work with writing and reading assignments from any course in the University. 

This is an excellent FREE resource! Check them out. 

Part II: How to Search

  • Carefully describe or define what you want to know—write a thesis statement/hypothesis
  • Identify primary & secondary concepts and associated terms – fill in Concept Table
  • Organize key terms into a logical search statement – primary concept first (Search statements)
  • Search the online catalog plus appropriate print and electronic indexes, handbooks, etc
  • Search for key terms starting with primary concept, then add secondary concepts
  • Evaluate relevancy of results
  • Revise search statements (choice and relationship of terms) as needed

What is Academic Research

Library Presentation

Part I: Know Before You Start

  • Terminology  (key concepts, scientific or technical terms, jargon words,  etc)
  • Access tools for identifying information sources 
  • Print: Indexes , abstracts, bibliographies
  • Electronic:  Indexes/databases, Online catalogs, VT Library web site                                           
  • World Wide Web: Nothing evaluated, much is not reliable – good search engine:
  • Always!  Always!  Evaluate what you find, no matter where you find it.     


Part III: Getting What You Find

  • If the library has access to the online full-text – download or print it
  • If the library does not have access to online full-text, use ILLIAD (Interlibrary Loan) to obtain materials not available online       
  • Off-campus students -- use ILLIAD Document Delivery Service for anything not accessible online

 ILLIAD link is: