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Research Services

About the Research Services department and how we can help you with your research

Which Resources to Use

  • The library owns hundreds of thousands of print books, journals, government documents, videos, CDs, and more. 
  • We also subscribe to (or have purchased) nearly 250 electronic databases containing research materials.  These resources make it easy to access full text reference books, scholarly journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, books, statistics, company information, music scores and audio recordings, streaming video, polls, test reviews, clinical trials, and much more. 
  • There are both primary and secondary sources available for your research. 

We have specialized research resources for every area of study at ISU. 

But where should you start?

The Information Sources diagram can help guide you.         –––––––––


First, start with background information, such as a general encyclopedia, dictionary, almanac, etc.  This will help you to understand your broad topic and put it in the context of history, the political situation, the people involved, and other related topics.  You can save yourself a lot of time if you start with a good, solid understanding of your topic!  From these sources you will learn spelling variations, other keywords to use, more specific topics to explore, and more.

Then, if you need more background information, seek out a more specialized reference source like a subject encyclopedia.  Here are a couple of examples: 

  • Encyclopedia of applied and computational mathematics, 
  • Sage encyclopedia of African cultural heritage in North America,
  • Encyclopedia of language development,
  • Clothing and fashion : American fashion from head to toe.

Use the Dictionaries & Encyclopedias tab at the left to find a great source for background information.

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