This is the step most people think of when they think of "library research." It's a hunt for information in any available form (book, periodical, CD, video, internet) which is pertinent to your chosen focus. Once you know the focus of your research, there are lots of tools and strategies to help you find and collect the information you need.
Your information search should be focused and specific, but pay careful attention to serendipity (finding, by chance, valuable things you weren't even looking for). Keep your mind open to continue learning about your focused topic.
Now is the time to carefully record your sources in the bibliographic format required by your instructor. Every piece of information you collect should have bibliographic information written down before you leave the library. See the links to Citing Sources (p. ) for information on how and when to use quotation, paraphrase and summary and how to conform to the required styles of citation in different fields of study. You should also pay attention to the quality of the information you find, especially if you're using information you find on the internet. See the linked articles about Interpretation and Evaluation of Information (http://www.ipl.org/teen/aplus/linksother.htm#interpret).
Your information search at this stage is focused and specific, and you're keeping a careful record of what you find. Instead of the square mile of land to explore, you've roped off half an acre. You're walking it systematically, bending down now and then to pick up something and chuck it in your backpack, then recording in your notebook what you found and where you found it.
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