English Language Institute (ELI) Library Guide

Useful information for ELI students about how to use the library and do research for your classes.

How To Do Library Research

Hello! This guide is for students of the English Language Institute (ELI) at Binghamton University.

Start here to do library research:

1. Choose your topic.

  • What do you want to write about?

2. Select keywords to use when searcing for library resources (look at the box below).

3. Search for books and articles.

4. Evaluate the information you find.

  • Is it helpful for your topic?
  • Who is the author? Are they qualified to write about the subject?
  • Is the date of publication current enough to be useful?

5. Look at the references or citations in the book or article to find other possible sources.

6. When writing your paper, make correct citations.


You can:

1. Search Find It! using keywords for your topic. Find It! will show you books and articles.

2. Search a database, such as:


When you know your topic, what words do you use to search for resources about that topic?


Keywords are the most important words about your topic.

  • For example, if your topic is: "The relationsihp between women's fashion magazines and anorexia,"

what words are the most important to search for?

  • For this topic, example keywords are:
      • women
      • fashion magazines
      • anorexia

But these are not the only words you can use.

  • Think of synonyms and related words. Use a thesaurus for ideas.
    • For example:
      • women = woman, female, girls
      • fashion magazines = fashion models, fashion industry
      • anorexia = eating disorders

If you don't find what you are looking for in the library, think of different keywords and try again.

Need help thinking of keywords? Ask a Librarian.

Instructional Outreach Librarian

Megan Benson's picture
Megan Benson
Bartle Library LN-2307
Schedule a class