Whether you're an online-only student or are temporarily away from campus, there are plenty of library resources you can use without showing up in person. The most important thing to know is ask for help!
Brainstorm possible search terms for your topic. Keep in mind that you may need to simplify long phrases by breaking them up into separate search terms or smaller phrases.
Consult background information. Specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries and guides are a great time saving tool. Many of these are located in the Reference Collection on Library North 2.
These sources provide topical overviews, summarize basic concepts, and are filled with names and events you can use as keywords in your searching. Many encyclopedia articles also include carefully selected bibliographies that will lead you to additional resources.
Be flexible as you settle on a final topic. Do a few preliminary searches in the library catalog or article databases before commiting to a topic. Make sure you can locate primary sources. You may find that you need to narrow or broaden your focus.
Cite as you go. Even if you're not sure whether you will use a source, it's much easier to note the citation information up front than to decide you need it later!