Online Guide to Writing and Research

Chapter 4: The Research Process

Research Resources

Where Are Research Resources Found?

Electronic Resources

Electronic information is a growing resource today, one many students may overlook. If they are updated regularly, online databases, the primary residence for electronic resources used for research, can be quite valuable because they contain a great deal of information in an accessible place and are often more easily updated than print resources. Today, university libraries store much of their reference information online in some form.

In some libraries, additional information may be contained on individual disks or CD-ROMs, storage devices for electronic information. An example of an online database is the VICTOR database, which lists all the current holdings within the University System of Maryland. Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, on the other hand, is a database that is owned and updated privately and distributed to universities on CD-ROM.

During your research, you will initially be able to access a significant amount of your needed research information from outside the library building, by using a computer and modem. UMUC’s "virtual" or "electronic" library has many databases of abstracts, newspapers, full-text books, and journals, such as the Harvard Business Review, as well as the useful LEXIS/NEXIS database important to business and paralegal studies. Chapter 6, "Using Library Resources," offers more details about library research here at UMUC.

Accessing information is only one step in the research process. Reading, interpreting, analyzing, and selecting information for your paper and using resources in your research writing are important subsequent steps without which you cannot complete the research task.