I have been working on my senior politics thesis all semester, and I decided to meet with a WFU librarian for the first time (and I’ve gone back five times since). This experience has made me realize that I’ve been missing out on this amazing resource my whole time here at Wake Forest, but I’m going to make a list for why you all shouldn’t make the same mistake! Here’s a bunch of reasons why you should make a meeting with our school librarians:
- Have you ever been given a research assignment and felt overwhelmed, confused, or completely clueless about what you want to write about? You should definitely make an appointment a librarian. Go on the ZSR website to see which librarian specializes in the subject relevant to your paper. They will probe you to find what genuinely interests you and will help you find a topic that is both answerable and interesting. It is the absolute worst when you pick a topic and you find out later that you have zero interest in it at all — meeting with librarians will help prevent this.
- Librarians are determined to help you. They will work SO hard to help you find the sources, data, etc. that you need, and if they can’t find it, they’ll direct you to someone who can find it. That’s how I went from meeting with Ros Tedford in ZSR to meeting with the business librarians in Farrell.
- There are some resources you literally cannot access without the help of librarians. If I had not met with the business librarians, I would never have known about Bloomberg, and there is only access to it if you are physically IN the business school. Without this, I would no have gained valuable access to firm-specific figures for my thesis.
- Using librarians is so much more efficient than starting the research process on your own. They will tell you the best databases and search terms to use, and they will even be able to tell you what data just isn’t there. I have made the mistake of not consulting them and have spent many fruitless hours searching for data that either didn’t exist or wasn’t accessible to me. There’s no harm in asking for their help, and I guarantee it will save you so much time.
- Do you need help with anything else? Anything from forming your research question to finding sources to inputting citations? Make an appointment with the librarians. They will help you with your assignment at whatever stage.
- Your research will be much more effective and efficient after meeting with librarians, and you can carry those tips and skills onto other assignments. You can even take those skills into post-grad life when we will no longer have access to these librarians — so hurry up and utilize them now!!!!
There are certainly MANY other reasons to meet with the librarians, but these have been the highlights of my experiences with them. I promise they are great — you won’t regret meeting with them!