THE LIBRARY IS OPEN ONLINE! Our physical space remains inaccessible. Library resources and services are available online.
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.
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.
The Oxford Guide to Library Research is a valuable tool for unlocking the universe of sources available in libraries and online.
"Presenting various schools of thought ... Going to the Sources ... explores the dynamic, nature, and professional history of research papers, and shows readers how to identify, find, and evaluate both primary and secondary sources for their own writing assignments." (From the intro to the 6th edition.)
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.
"From Reliable Sources is ... an overview of the techniques historians must master in order to reconstruct the past. Its focus on the basics of source criticism, rather than on how to find references or on the process of writing, makes it an invaluable guide ..." (Publisher's summary)
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:
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?