You can still access the UC Berkeley Library's services and resources. Here's how.
Sometimes it can be difficult to formulate your paper topic before you have read much about your topic. In this case, "pre-research" might be helpful. Think of this as an informed brainstorming opportunity.
Reference sources like encyclopedias and critical dictionaries familiarize you with facts and basic concepts related to your topic. They are good sources for keywords, which you can use later in your searches. Finally, you can often find bibliographies and recommended reading for getting started.
Some good sources to get started:
As you begin to formulate your topic, it helps to become immersed in the scholarly conversation that people are having about it. How can you participate in a conversation unless you know what other people are talking about? Extensive reading (and skimming) is the best way to get immersed in your topic.
Books are good places to start because they provide breadth and depth on your topic.
During the campus closure, you may find it helpful to look for books that are available in the following order:
When using OskiCat, make use of advanced features such as subject headings and browsing by location. For more help with this, review this online tutorial.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the scholarly conversation around your topic, try reworking your research question to one that is open-ended, narrow, and specific. Your research question should be one you care about and about which you can make a contribution to the scholarly conversation.
Some questions to ask yourself:
Rework your research question so that you can answer "yes" to the above questions.
You've done background research, immersed yourself in the scholarly conversation, and reworked your research question.
It's time to benefit from the focused analyses journal articles can bring you.
Here are a few important databases for journal articles:
Your project may benefit from the research and inclusion of primary source and archival materials.
Here are some places to find them: