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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 an integrated interlibrary loan service through which you can request materials from remote libraries. Once the account is set up, borrowing is extremely easy. Many requests can be handled electronically, with articles delivered directly to your email account. Accounts can be set up easily online through the Library's homepage listed under "InterLibrary Loan" or go directly to ILLiad. Accessible to University at Albany users only.

    • CDLC cards allow you to go to local participating 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.

  • When you start searching, begin with this list, in descending order, for the best resources in terms of quality and scope of coverage:

    1. Catalogs(OPACs): University at Albany Libraries' and others

    2. Database Finder & Indexes

    3. Journals: Print & Online

    4. Internet