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EndNote is a fantastic tool for keeping track of books, articles, papers, etc that you've read on a topic.  You can organize these references in any way that makes sense to you, and keep notes about them, and keep the full text of the articles all in one place.  And once you've started writing a paper, EndNote can help you format the citations in the correct style (for most Geology papers, this is GSA Bulletin).

EndNote is available for any student to download on to their own computer, and it is installed on all campus lab computers.

Check out our EndNote guide for more information and links to download the software.

Keeping track

While you're researching, it's helpful to keep notes in some form or another.  This could be a text file on your computer, handwritten notes in a notebook, or some other form that you've found that works for you.  The important thing is to keep track of where you've been, what you've looked at, and what worked and what didn't.

Some things you'll want to keep track of...

Searches you've conducted

  • Where did you search?
  • Which search terms did you use
  • (** the searches that worked really well
    Cross out those that didn't work at all
  • Other notes on your searches

Sources you've found

  • What did you find?
  • How will it help you?
  • How can you get to it again (URL for webpage, folder location if you've downloaded an article, call number of a book)
  • Other notes on your sources

Getting Started

Some thoughts on research…  Research is not a linear process. Instead, it is a matter of trying something, evaluating and learning from the results, refining your strategy, trying something else, and exploring lots of possibilities. It should be a fun thing - finding new information and thinking about what that might mean for your topic.  This list is not meant to be taken literally as a strict procedure; instead these are questions to keep in mind as you do your research. 

  1. What discipline or disciplines am I working in?

  2. What sources do I already have?
    • Do they mention other sources of information or data (bibliography)?
    • Do they use specific terminology or wording?
    • Do they talk about particular places, people, or agencies?
  3. What type of literature or information do I need?
    • Who might collect and/or publish that information?
    • Who would be interested in it?
  4. How and where will I search for the information I need?
  5. How will I access the information that I find?
  6. What keywords or terms could be used to describe my topic?
  7. After running a few searches: What results am I getting?  Am I getting too many results?  Too few?
  8. What refinements should I make to my search in light of those results?
  9. How will I use the results that I've found?
  10. What information am I still missing?

Remember also that the librarians are here to help.