Research Help

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Watch a recorded version of the Library Orientation to learn about resources & services available and a basic demonstration of how to use the Library’s online databases to do research.

Orientation, part 1
Library Orientation, part 1: Services & Resources (04:42)

library orientation part 2
Library Orientation, part 2: Online Resources (09:35)

What is a citation? A citation…

  • describes a book, journal article, website, or other published item
  • gives credit to the originator of an idea, thus preventing plagiarism
  • enables the reader to retrieve the item you refer to
  • includes the author, title, source (publisher and place of publication or URL), and date

LTC Instructors typically use APA or MLA citation styles, so check with your instructor to ensure you’re using the correct style.

LTC provides students free access to EasyBib EDU, a bibliography generator. Use LTC's coupon code: LakesWI160 to sign up for a free account. See our Help guide for directions on how to use EasyBib to create a Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) page. 

The following links provide guidelines to using APA and MLA citation styles.

APA Style: 2010 Update
Access the official packet on APA citation.

APA Citation Quick Guide
Quick reference to common APA citing situations

Many additional examples of APA citation formats can be found on the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).
tutorial on the basics of APA style is available on the APA website.

W.W.Norton MLA8

MLA8 Style: 2016 Update
Access the official packet on MLA citation.

MLA Quick Guide
MLA8 Citation Quick Guide
Quick reference to common MLA citing situations

For NEW MLA8 (2016 Update) formatting see the OWL at Purdue MLA8 Formatting and Style Guide. Examples of in-text citation in MLA8 style can also be found in the OWL at Purdue Guide.

Additional books are available for checkout in the Library:

Publications ManualAPA the Easy WayRules for Writers

How Do I Start My Research?

1. Choose a topic

Based on information you get from your class assignment or research project, you'll need to choose a topic. You can get ideas from:

  • Your class discussions and lectures
  • Your reading (in and out of class)
  • Your interests and life experience
  • Background information on people, issues, and events. You can find this information:
    • In your textbook
    • By looking at local, national, or world news from Newsbank
    • Searching our online reference books in Credo Reference
    • Or if your research assignment is to write an argumentative paper or pick a controversial topic, a great place to start is Issues and Controversies


  • If you are interested in global warming, your topic might be how global warming affects fishing industries.
  • If you are studying elementary education, your topic might be how reading mentoring helps students in urban schools.

2. Create a search strategy

After a topic is chosen, form a search strategy. This step can help you effectively do your library research.

  1. Form a search question or thesis statement based on the topic you select.
  2. Identify the main ideas in the question or statement. Think of two or three parts of your topic you want to cover.
  3. Brainstorm alternative terms or synonyms for your main ideas.
  4. When searching, combine and use the best terms rather than typing in your original question or phrase.


You want to write a paper on global warming and some aspect of agriculture or food production.

  1. Ask a question: “How does global warming affect the fishing industry in the United States?
  2. Identify the main ideas: global warming, fishing industry, and United States.
  3. Brainstorm alternative terms:
    • Global warming or climate change, greenhouse effect, carbon emissions
    • Fishing industry or fishing, fisheries, oceans, marine biology, lobsters, salmon, food prices, etc.
    • United States or New England, Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Florida, Alaska
  4. Combine the best terms to search: (global warming OR climate change) AND (fishing OR oceans) AND United States.

3. Find information

  • The LTC Library provides a wide range of resources for your research.




  • Find journal, magazine, and newspaper articles on your topic in our Search Library Resources page.
  • EBSCO- 30+ databases all in one—a great place to start your research! 
  • NewsBankExplore Wisconsin, U.S., or World news articles from 1978 - Current! 
  • OVID Nursing Journals- Collection for nursing and health-related fields.
  • CultureGrams- Specific country and cultural research on over 200 countries.
  • HINTS for Retrieving Better Search Results in Databases:
    • Select FULL TEXT- See the results with full-text articles only.
    • Change publication date- Choose results within last 5-10 years.
    • Spell out abbreviations- Use the most detailed description of your keywords; ex. car = “automobile”, IV = “intravenous”.
    • Subject: Thesaurus Terms- Check Thesaurus for alternate keyword ideas.
    • Use * to broaden your term- * will return all results beginning with the letters before the *. educat*  will bring back results containing: educator, education, educators, educate.
    • If you find a book or articles you like, check its references to find more information on that topic.

4. Evaluate information

After finding potential sources of information, you need to evaluate them to see if they are worthwhile for your research assignment. Consider the following:

  • Accuracy: Is the information correct? Can you verify the facts somewhere else? Does the source cite other sources that you can check? Is the information supported by enough evidence?
  • Authority: What are the credentials of the author, the publication? Are they an expert? Are they trustworthy? Do they have a degree in this field of study?
  • Audience: For what audience is the source intended? Is it at the appropriate level? Is it an academic or popular source? Can you understand it?
  • Objectivity: Is the author impartial or is there evidence of bias? Does the author have a personal interest in the subject? Is the piece based on opinion or fact?
  • Currency: When was the source published? Is it up-to-date? Is it too old?

It's especially important to evaluate websites since anyone can publish information on the Web. Check out this Website Evaluation Guide and ask yourself the following:

  • Does the web page indicate when it was last updated?
  • Do you know who wrote the page? Can you find any information out about this author?
  • Does the page come from a reliable source (i.e. a major news site, the government, etc.)?
  • Do the links on the page work or are they broken?
  • Is there an "about" page that gives information about the organization providing the information?
  • What is the domain of the URL? (.gov, .edu, .org, .com, etc.)

You can use EasyBib’s free Website Evaluator to assist you in checking a website’s credibility.

5. Cite your sources

In order to avoid plagiarism, you need to acknowledge use of another person’s work. This requires you to cite any sources you use in your assignment, paper, or project no matter what you use from that source: an original idea, a direct quote, research methods, or even innovative terminology. Your instructor will tell you which citation style to use, the most popular styles at LTC being American Psychological Association (APA), or Modern Languages Association (MLA). Use the   Library's citations guides to help you format you format to the specific style.   Always use the latest edition of a style manual.LTC provides students free access to EasyBib EDU, a bibliography generator. Use LTC's coupon code: LakesWI160 to sign up for a free account. See our Help guide for directions on how to use EasyBib to create a Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) page. Examples: APA Style (6th edition)Munday, P., Jones, G., Pratchett, M., & Williams, A. (2008). Climate change and the future for coral reef fishes.   Fish & Fisheries,   9(3), 261-285. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2979.2008.00281.xKoslow, J. A. (2007).   The silent deep : the discovery, ecology and conservation of the deep sea. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. MLA Style (8th edition)Munday, Philip L., et al. "Climate change and the future for coral reef fishes."   Fish & Fisheries  9.3 (2008): 261-285.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Apr 2009.Koslow, J. Anthony.   The silent deep : the discovery, ecology and conservation of the deep sea. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Print.

6. Need Help?

Not sure where to start or stuck in the process?  Stop by the Library in the Student Resource Center, room L160, in the Lakeshore Building; call the library 920.693.1130, email us: or Chat with Library Staff on the Library webpage!
Need help with the writing process or want someone to proofread to provide suggestions for improvement?Academic Support  can help you at any stage of your assignment. Stop by Academic Support in the Student Resource Center, room L160A, in the Lakeshore Building; call Academic Support 920.693.1121, email:

Research Guides by Program Areas

Doing research can be different depending on what program you are in. Your Library is here to make that easier. We have tailored research guides to guide you to the best resources for your area.


Business & Technology
Business Management
Court Reporting
Culinary Arts
Graphic Design
Human Resources
Information Technology
Marketing & Sales
Quality & Supply Chain


Energy & Agriculture
Energy (Wind, Nuclear, Radiation Safety)

General Education 2016

General Education
American Government
Anatomy & Physiology


Health & Human Services
Early Childhood
Health Info Management
Medical Coding
Medical Assistant


Public Safety
Criminal Justice


Trade & Industry 
Maintenance Mechanic
Machine Tool / CNC
Mechanical Design / CAD

WTCS New North