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Research Survival Guide: Introduction

This guide will help you learn how to conduct college-level research for your classes.

Research Survival Guide

Searching vs. Researching

How often have you used Google to search for answers to your questions? Using Google helps you find facts and explore topics in easy and fast ways. However, when you’re conducting research you are not just searching for information and facts; you are analyzing different information and putting it together in a way that makes connections and correlations. Real scholarly research takes time, effort, and skill.

Watch this video from the McMaster Libraries to learn more about the differences between searching and researching.

  Searching Researching
  • Can be many unqualified authors
  • Materials not evaluated for accuracy
  • Qualified researchers in field
  • Materials evaluated (peer-reviewed) for accuracy


  • Find facts and information to answer simple questions
  • Uncover information and add knowledge/connections to field
  • Short timespan
  • Lengthy process



  • Not necessarily an in-depth process
  • Simple keywords used
  • Requires multiple steps that can be circled back to throughout process
  • Requires search strategies and multiple steps


Types of Resources

  • Few free scholarly resources
  • Popular websites
  • Government websites
  • Scholarly journal articles
  • Reference Books
  • Books
  • Newspaper articles