Skip to Main Content

Proud to Be First Generation: Research skills essentials

Materials for first generation students and those who support them.

Ask A Librarian

Chat with us during library reference hours using the chat in the lower right corner of this page, or visit Ask a Librarian.


LibrarySearch provides a simple, one-stop search for books, articles, videos, recordings, and more. Items from St. Thomas and other regional libraries can be requested online and delivered to the St. Thomas library of your choice.

Find a research guide

UST Center for Writing

UST Writing CenterWould you like some expert assistance with writing and editing your paper? 

Check out the resources available from the Writing Center.

10 essential research tips

10 Tips Every First Year Student Should Know about Libraries and Research

  1. College libraries are very different from high school libraries.  They can be confusing and intimidating.  Become familiar with the library as soon as you can - both by visiting in person and online.
  2. Research is not difficult - research is detailed.  Manage the research assignment in the same way you would manage any project:  know what to do, have a plan, follow the plan, and establish a time line.
  3. Everything is not on Google.  Everything is not online.  You will have to be your own detective when you search and discover information.  The UST Libraries have a wide selection of academic, scholarly databases to make your search rewarding.
  4. Start as soon as you get the assignment.  This is a time management skill - working on your paper every day, beginning with the day you receive the assignment, will allow you to keep going, remain focused, and very possibly finish early.
  5. Ask for help when you need it.  Ask for help even if you don't think you need help - just to be sure that you are on the right track.  The librarians and library staff are waiting for you to ask - this is why we are here.
  6. Learn and use the Research: Where Do I Begin? library guide.  Remember - research is detailed.
  7. Always get more than the minimum number of sources required.  Sometimes as you are writing the paper you may discover that sources don't work out as planned, so be prepared to have additional sources that you can use instead, rather than having to begin searching all over again.
  8. Focus on scholarly literature, not popular publications.  Peer-reviewed papers will satisfy your instructor's requirement.
  9. Learn how to cite, and know which style is required for your paper.
  10. Don't plagiarize - instructors have ways of quickly determining that papers contain plagiarized statement and sections.  An F grade is not worth the risk of using plagiarized material.