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Getting Started with your Paper / Project

Tips form UMSL's Reference Librarians on researching papers and projects

Subject Guides

UMSL's librarians have collected related resources into a series of guides arranged by academic subjects. Each Subject Guide highlights the best resources to help make your research easier.

Finding Articles, Books, Databases & Primary Sources

What kind of materials do you need? Articles? Books? Primary sources? Do the articles need to be peer-reviewed? The Libraries provide several tools to help you find material for your paper / project..

Summon is UMSL's Discovery Tool, a massive index that helps you search many (but not all) of the articles and books in the Libraries.  It's a great place to start.

Catalogs are available for UMSL, the other University of Missouri campuses (MERLIN), and many other colleges & universities in the region (MOBIUS). 

UMSL's catalog contains records for printed books and printed journals plus ebooks.  Other catalogs may also contain electronic resources (books and journals) that UMSL users CANNOT access due to publisher restrictions.

The best way to find journals at UMSL is through the Electronic Journal Portal (both print and electronic).

Databases contain all types of information, including articles, ebooks, statistics, images, videos, etc.

Primary sources are resources such as newspapers and original documents (as text or facsimiles).  For example, if you needed a primary source for a paper on the U. S. Constitution, you would want to see the original text of the Constitution, and/or an image of the document.  An article about the Constitution would be a secondary source.  Or, if you were researching the World's Fair in St. Louis, you could look for newspaper accounts written by people who attended the fair.