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Brief Guide to Research for Philosophy: Before Starting Research

Before Starting Research

Philosophy research is most fruitful when some preliminary considerations are kept in mind:

  • All research takes time; it is important to start as early as possible. With sufficient time, you will be able to access more resources, insuring better and more thorough results.
  • Set up an Interlibrary Loan account(ILLiad) and get a Capital District Library Council(CDLC)card.
     
    • ILLiad is a integrated Interlibrary Loan service through which you can request materials from remote libraries. Once the account is set up, borrowing is easy. Requests are handled electronically, with articles sent to you account as pdf files and you are emailed when they arrive usually within a day or two. Accounts are easily set up online: from the Library’s homepage click on "TOOLS" then the ILLiad button or go directly to ILLiad here. Accessible to University at Albany users only.
    • CDLC cards allow you to go to participating local academic and public libraries and borrow directly, which can greatly speed up the process of getting important materials. To get a CDLC card, take your valid identification card and go to the Circulation Desk. They usually do them on the spot and it takes about 10 minutes.
  • Formulate a thesis statement before beginning your search. This is essential for two reasons:
    1. A thesis statement provides you with a focused topic.
    2. A thesis statement provides you with specific search terms.
      NOTE: For an brief explanation of a thesis statement, look at the Research Process or ask at the Reference Desk.