Library Services Can Aid Student Research

WSU Libraries want to remind new and returning students about services and resources to help them find reliable sources and refine their research endeavors.

Reference Coordinator and Undergraduate Services Librarian Pamela Martin said Holland and Terrell Libraries offer research help in person and on chat, as well as general and subject-specialist help.

Students can chat online with a WSU librarian or student reference assistant Monday–Thursday from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and Sundays from 5–9 p.m., but they can also reach out to chat with librarians from around the world 24/7.

“It’s great to stop by our reference desk [Terrell Library first floor] or chat online with us if you’ve tried to do research on your own and are frustrated by the results or your research assignment,” Martin said. “We can help with focusing your topic, formatting citations, refining a search, locating particular types of sources, or simply locating a book on the shelves.”

The reference desk can be a great resource for those needing help with focusing their topic, formatting citations, refining a search, locating particular types of sources, or simply locating a book on the shelves.

“The reference desks in Owen, Holland, and Terrell Libraries are great resources,” added Owen Library Science and Instruction Librarian David Luftig. “This may seem obvious, but I cannot overemphasize how helpful it can be to just talk out your project subject or research question with a librarian. We all have been trained in the ‘reference interview,’ so we tend to be pretty good at getting to the crux of a research question or finding the best methodology a patron could use to find research.”

Luftig said the 24/7 live chat service is particularly helpful. Patrons can get help 24/7 with any question or issue they may have. If they need citation assistance, help finding research, or a way to solve access issues, someone is always there to help them. If patrons have a higher-level research question, it will be referred to the subject librarian who will follow up with them within the day typically.

“We also have subject library guides that provide a nice, curated jumping-off point for research,” he said.

Instruction and Assessment Librarian Corey Johnson said the Book-a-Librarian service is one worth noting. Students and other patrons arrange an individual session with a librarian to get help with their project or paper. The appointment could include developing a topic and keywords, searching for scholarly and popular sources, and building citations. Appointments may be held either in person or virtually, depending on the patron’s preference. This service is available to all students, staff, and faculty.

“These half-hour consultation sessions are the perfect way to make progress on research projects,” Johnson said. “You can select a subject specialist for your discipline to assure the best help. The sessions are often more beneficial than dropping in at the reference desk because the librarian can prepare research ideas before the meeting.”

Business and Economics Librarian Gabriella Reznowski said WSU Libraries subscribe to specialized resources, where students can access information to provide evidence to support their research. Of the subscription-based resources offered by the libraries, Statista has broad application, providing information that connects with various disciplines, from business, marketing, and economics to sociology and political studies.

“One of the things I appreciate about Statista is that researchers can link to the ‘source’ information, which is included on each statistic,” she said. “Sometimes the source is Statista itself, while other times the source information alerts the researcher to an organization or research entity that is interested in the same topic. This can expand the researcher’s awareness of reliable source information in a given area. Statista slides can be downloaded and embedded directly into a PowerPoint presentation. For my areas, Statista’s consumer and industry information is invaluable, as Statista also provides international coverage for industries, markets, and trends.”

To learn about how other libraries in the WSU system offer services and resources, please refer to the following library links: