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Where Do I Start?

A basic guide to resources and services addressing the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the library.

Getting Started

Below is a brief list of different starting points for your research, from the library catalog and databases to requesting personal help. See the full Starting Your Research Guide for more ways to do research and get help finding information.

Starting Points

Get Personal Help from a Librarian

Students, faculty, and staff can meet with a Librarian for assistance in developing a research topic and get help with maximizing use of library resources. Instruction is offered as personal one-on-one sessions.

Register for a personal instruction session.


Choosing Topics

There are many directions you can take when selecting a topic to research for a particular assignment, paper, or project. We suggest that you select a topic that interests YOU. It could be a current event, a "hot topic" in the news or in scholarly circles, or something in your major or particular field of study. Your enthusiasm and passion for the topic will show in the final product of your research, so choose well!

The library suggests the following starting points:

  • General Interest Article Databases 
    • TOPICsearch - a current events database that allows researchers to explore social, political & economic issues, scientific discoveries and other popular topics. See the "Current Events" and "Topics"  boxes under the "Limiters" heading on the Advanced Search (default) search page for great suggestions and research leads.
    • Academic Search Complete - another great multi-subject and general interest database. ASC includes access to current magazines and newspapers (popular, non-academic literature) as well as numerous academic and peer-reviewed journals (scholarly literature). Unlike TOPICsearch, ASC does not provide preset lists of current events and topics. Instead, you must search by keyword to see the latest articles trending on your topic. Use the "Subject Terms" option at the top of the page to help find additional search terms and phrases related to your topic of interest. 
    • Nexis Uni - part of the Newspaper Databases, Nexis Uni features section entitled "Discover Topics" at the bottom of the initial search page. Each topic listed will link to domestic and international news sources that cover current events and front page news.
  • Subject-Specific Databases
    • Databases - this page contains a list of all the library subscription databases, which grant exclusive access to journals, newspapers, proceedings, and other types of information sources. The resources listed are arranged categorically, many of those reflecting the Schools or Academic Programs on the UTD campus. A good way to find a topic is by looking at those resources in your major or specific field of study.
  • Speak with a Library Subject Liaison

McDermott Library Hours & Contact Information

Hours (subject to change for holidays and special events), 972-883-2955