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Research Consultation FAQ

Questions about Research Consultations offered at the Thomas Jefferson Library.


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Lindsay Schmitz
Thomas Jefferson Library
University of Missouri St. Louis

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Research Consultation?
  2. Can a group of people doing a project set up a research consultation?
  3. How fast will we get the results?
  4. Can you answer any and/or all questions via email?
  5. Will you actually do the research for me?
  6. How long will a Research Consultation take?

Q1 : What is a Research Consultation?

A Research Consultation is a meeting with a Reference Librarian, who has looked into a subject or topic of interest to find the best sources available, both within the library and beyond it. The Research Consultation will demonstrate how to find these sources - books, articles, and all other types of research/information materials. Research Consultations may be scheduled for an in-person meeting at the Thomas Jefferson Library, or for an Email response, advising of both paper and electronic resources available on a topic.

Q2 : Can a group of people doing a project set up a research consultation?

Groups that are all working on a single subject are welcome to meet with a Librarian as a group. If a group has a similar, or even the same, assignment, but different responsibilities or different topics, each member should schedule an individual Research Consultation. If you are not sure if your group needs to meet as individuals, ask a Reference Librarian.

Q3 : How fast will we get the results?

If you submit a request for an in-person Research Consultation, you will be contacted via email after noon the following business day with the date and time of your appointment. If you have a problem with the scheduled time and date you may request to reschedule.

If you schedule a Consultation by Email, we will try to get you your results within 1 to 2 working days. However, there may be reasons for a delay. For example, if your needs are complex or unclear, we will contact you for clarification. In general, you will want to set up a Research Consultation as early as possible before a paper or project is due so you can best benefit from our efforts.

Q4 : Can you answer any and/or all questions via email?

No. Experience tells us that email is not always the best way to get research assistance. When you meet face to face with a librarian, we can engage in a dialogue, asking questions to clarify your needs. Certain topics might require the use of printed materials in the library. We'll try to provide as much assistance as we can via email, but sometimes it is just not feasible. In all cases, we will let you know as soon as possible the status of your request and ask for clarification, if needed, in order to give you our best efforts.

Q5 : Will you actually do the research for me?

No. We will usually not retrieve a packet of articles and books for you. If you schedule an in-person Research Consultation, however, we will often include a few articles or books as examples for you. Our focus, however, is to assist you to do the research yourself. We will identify relevant reference materials, indexes, databases, and online resources. We will discuss approaches to doing research on a topic, especially when it comes to vocabulary and terms. For example, we can tell you what phrases and terms to use for a topic when searching in a database. Since we also recommend specific databases, our true value is cutting through the confusion for you, then pointing you towards the resources most likely to solve your need.

Q6 : How long will a Research Consultation take?

You should allow for one hour. Often, however, it takes less time, but you may have additional questions.