Research Guide

Need to do research to find out more about something? Here are some steps you can take to make sure you find factual information that suits your needs.

There are a number of ways to find information:

Library books and other materials

To find library books and other materials, you can search the Tribal Libraries online catalog by title, author, keyword, or a number of other criteria. This catalog contains all the items in our three Tribal Libraries as well as all the items at our partner libraries. You can go to any of these libraries to check out items, or you can place a hold request to have an item delivered to the location of your choice. Delivery usually takes 2-3 days. All you need to check out an item is a library card from us or from one of our partner libraries.

If you want an item that isn't available in our local system, you can search MeLCat to interlibrary loan items from all over the state of Michigan. Millions of books, DVDs, and other items are available to be delivered to you at any of our three Tribal Libraries. You just need your library card to place a hold request in MeLCat, and it's totally free.

Databases of articles and other information sources

Your Tribal Libraries provide you with access to a number of databases that contain articles, reviews, and many other resources.

When you search a database, you can limit your results using a number of different factors such as full-text only, peer-reviewed only, date of publication, and more. These limits will help you focus the results you get to show only those that suit your needs.

Internet websites

Anyone can create a website and publish any content they want on it, so you want to be sure you're getting information that is current, relevant, accurate, reliable, and unbiased. You can use the CRAPP Test, created by librarians at California State University-Chico and widely used in college and university research libraries, to evaluate a website (or really any resource).

Ask yourself: when was this website created? Does it list a date of publication for the information you're looking at?

You can look for several things on a website to determine who created it and where their information is coming from. Sometimes you can tell where a website originated by looking at the domain name, located in the URL. If it ends in .gov, it's probably from a governmental agency, and .mil means that it is from the U.S. military. Sites ending in .edu usually come from colleges and universities, though some information on .edu sites could be created by faculty or students and might contain inaccurate information. Sites ending in .com are usually commercial and .org are usually from non-profit organizations, but anyone can purchase a .com or .edu domain name, so there's no guarantee. There are also endless other endings for website URLs, most of which do not provide you any particular help figuring out where that website originated. For statistical or other factual information, look to see what sources are cited. Ask yourself, is this website trying to sell me something? If so, can I trust what they say?

What about using Wikipedia? Anyone can edit the information on Wikipedia, so it must be crummy, right? Not necessarily. Lots of Wikipedia pages are filled with useful information, and you can test this by looking at the bottom of the page at the References and Notes section. Click through to the sources cited there and see if those websites pass the CRAPP Test.