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School of Labor and Urban Studies

Ask a Librarian

There are many ways to get help from a librarian — choose the method that best suits your needs:

In Person: Visit the reference desk (2nd floor of library) during reference hours.

Chat: Chat with an academic librarian 24/7. If available, a CUNY librarian will answer your chat.

Email: Complete the question submission form and receive a reply by email during reference hours.

Phone: Call the reference desk at (212) 817-7077 during reference hours.

By Appointment: Schedule a one-on-one research consultation by contacting your subject librarian.

Build Your Research Skills

The Oxford Guide to Library Research is an invaluable tool for unlocking the universe of sources available in libraries and online. 

The Craft of Research walks you the entire research process, from coming up with a topic to writing up your results, and offers guidance on organizing your thoughts around research. 

Learning to Do Historical Research is a user-friendly online research primer that follows the steps laid out in The Craft of Research.

Evaluating Sources

Good scholarship requires careful reading and critical analysis of information.  Whether you are using primary, secondary, or reference sources in print or online, be sure to evaluate them closely.   

Following are basic evaluation criteria, adapted from The Information-Literate Historian by Jenny L. Presnell, that can be applied to all types of sources:

Author Authority 
Who created the item?  What is his or her affiliation?  

Audience and Purpose
Who is the intended audience?  Why was the item created?

Accuracy and Completeness
Is the evidence reliable?  Are the important points covered?

Footnotes and Documentation
Are the author's sources clearly identified with complete citations to allow you to find the original source yourself?

Perspective and Bias
How do the author's bias and perspective inform the arguments and evidence presented?

Spring 2019 M.A. Capstone Course - Intro to Library Research