Skip to Main Content

Research Process: Step 2: Locate Information

No matter what stage of the research process you're at--only beginning, stuck in the middle, or finishing up with citation polishing--this guide is a great resource for you.

Locate Information

Welcome to Step 2 of the research process. At this point, you've probably decided upon a topic, brainstormed research questions and begun some very basic background research. Now, it's time to get into the heart of researching: locating materials.

When you begin locating information, you may have had a start already with encyclopedias and dictionaries, which will give you background information. Sometimes, these resources are complete enough to use in your final reference list, so don't discount their usefulness. To create the most effective and efficient searches, utilize the search strategies listed under Step 2: Locate Information.

When you find an item not owned by the library, you may request it for free using ILLiad. Information on creating an account and requesting materials is found below.

For some, other than writing the project itself, Step 2 will take the most time, and you'll uncover information that may make you re-think your initial research topic and re-write some of your research questions. Remember the WISPR model from Step 1? You're now collecting information, which often jumps back to topic selecting and focusing. Research is a process that may not be linear. It's very common to find yourself jumping around in each step. 

Finding sources means that although some of your results will be close to your topic, many may be related, not identical in subject matter. Watch this short video to help you understand why research falls into the category of "related."


Using Interlibrary Loan to Request Materials

If we don't own it, chances are we can find it for you. Your Interlibrary Loan account allows you to request materials from other libraries. 

To get started, please watch the following video tutorial: 

Types of Sources

Before starting your research, it's important to understand the types of information sources available. This video provides a broad overview of the information you can find in sources such as books, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, electronic resources and more.

CONTINUE... Back to Previous Step Continue to Next Step




  Reach us at the Viterbo Library by phone, email or chat.

Main Desk: 608-796-3269 | Reference Desk: 608-796-3270 | Reference Email:

Library Website: