Posted in Research Skills, Uncategorized

Research Tips: Finding Resources via Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

3 Scientists, 1 microscoprIf you cannot locate a resource in the LRC, or the resource you need is checked out, we can usually get it for you from another institution via ILL. If you are having trouble locating relevant material you can contact a librarian and request assistance or use the following tips:



Search the entire CCLINC Catalog:

When you access the LRC online catalog you are by default searching only the holdings at HCC. You can expand your search to include all CCLINC community college libraries by changing the library from “Haywood” to “ALL” by opening the drop-down menu and scrolling to the top. Write down the titles and call numbers of the books you need and pass them on to a librarian.

WorldCat/FirstSearch is available through NCLive and offers access to library catalogs around the world. Locate your materials via numerous search options including title, author, subject, ISBN and keyword, among many. You will need a login and password for remote access. Please contact a librarian for current remote access information. Not sure how navigate WorldCat? Ask a librarian or check out this tutorial.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online book retailers offer easy subject searches and provide valuable information (ISBNs, publication dates, reviews,  length, etc) that you can use to evaluate titles. Type in your search and scroll through the results, taking note of any relevant works. The more information you write down, the easier it will be to locate a specific resource. You may also conduct further evaluation for these titles by running a simple Google search for each.


Often a simple Google search for “[your subject] + resources” will unearth titles or links to potential research materials. Make sure to evaluate the website’s credibility before searching for or requesting any recommended resources. If you are unsure of a website’s or title’s academic credentials a librarian will be more than happy to assist you.

Institutions and Experts:

Most universities and other academic institutions will have class reading lists, recommended supplemental materials, syllabi or subject guides posted online. They may require a little effort to find but can provide a wealth of potential sources. In a similar vein, check the faculty profiles for relevant departments at leading universities. These instructors are often published authors and may have written works concerning your topic.

Posted in Research Skills

The Personal Interview, Part IV: Finishing Touches

You’ve arranged an interview, done your research, and received insightful answers to your brilliant questions. Now what?

  • It goes without saying that you will thank your source at the interview’s conclusion but don’t forget to send a thank you note.
  • If possible, before you conclude the session arrange a method (generally by email or phone) by which you may contact your source if you have any additional questions. Make sure to ask first and keep your questions brief and few in number-remember, your source has already been generous enough with their time by granting the interview.
  • Interviews provide a large amount of information but to get the most from this resource you will need to transcribe and/or organize it to allow quick and easy access to the material.-Review your notes or audio recording of the interview as soon as you can while the material is fresh in your mind.
    -As you review, begin noting the information you might use and categorizing it to allow for quick reference later.
    -Develop a clear system of organization to distinguish exact quotes from paraphrasing.
  • Don’t forget your citation! Find examples of citing interviews on our library style manuals page.
Posted in Research Skills

The Personal Interview, Part III: KISS It

Keep It Simple, Student!

Much of what makes a good interview will come naturally and involves skills you already have (whether you know it or not!) Here are a few things to keep in mind during the interview session:


How you listen during an interview directly affects the quality of the experience for both you and your source. Listening attentively and offering your undivided attention is proper etiquette and makes for a more comfortable environment. Use nonverbal (examples: nodding your head, reacting appropriately to humor, & exhibiting good posture) and verbal (short questions, small words of agreement) cues to guide the conversation and show that you are interested and are following the responses closely.


If a response inspires a new question don’t be afraid to ask it-you often find your best and most effective questions this way.


If you did not understand a response politely ask your source to repeat it or explain a particular point. Keep in mind that repeatedly asking for clarification can give the impression (rightly or wrongly)  that you are unprepared or inattentive.


As mentioned above, be prepared to let the interview take you through some unexpected territory but do not let conversation linger for too long off-topic. If necessary, use your questions to gently and politely steer the interview back to the original subject.

Record (x2)

Even if you are recording the interview take thorough notes. It will provide you with a written framework of the audio (or saved text) from the interview and serve as a backup in case of technological difficulties.

Posted in Research Skills

The Personal Interview, Part I: Begin at the Source

The personal interview is an exceptional research source that is often overlooked due to the easy access of online databases, online journals, and other e-resources. Throughout the next two weeks we will highlight personal interviews, telling you all you need to know to prepare for, conduct, and incorporate personal interviews into your next paper or project.

What is a personal interview?

For our purposes, a personal interview is an interview between a researcher and a credible source. The interview can take place face-to-face, over the phone, or over the internet using email or a chat platform. During the process the interviewer uses a series of questions and follow-up questions to explore the source’s opinions on and knowledge of a particular topic.

Why use a personal interview?

Personal interviews are valid and versatile academic resources that can be used for almost any project, paper, or presentation. In addition to providing valuable information, expert sources often offer current and unique perspectives in a given area. For example, an expert on black bears may have spent the past summer in the Great Smokies studying their behavior. Information from an interview can also be used to support evidence found in other sources or provide valuable information in an area where there is little or no available research.

What makes a source credible?

A credible source is a recognized expert in his or her field of interest and ideally has years of experience to draw from. When searching for a source consider the following questions:

  • Is the source’s area of expertise relevant to my topic?
  • Does this individual have any experience instructing others in their area? If so, how much?
  • Has the source published any papers, conducted any workshops, or otherwise given any presentations on your topic?
  • Is this individual regarded as an expert by others in his or her field of study?
  • Do they belong to or hold positions of authority in any professional societies?

Remember, your project is only as strong as the information you present so choose your sources accordingly.

How does one locate a credible source?

Students in a particular program of study may already be aware of accessible experts that would make good candidates for a personal interview. If not, you can begin your list of possible sources buy searching the internet or viewing online faculty profiles at a leading institution. In addition, many online databases contain scholarly or peer-reviewed papers and can be mined for published works on your topic. Look for authors who have written or contributed to multiple papers. Databases frequently provide a list of other scholarly works that reference or cite a given paper. If a given author has been cited a number times by other scholarly works it is often a sign that he or she is a leader in the field. Your professor or another faculty member (who might make good sources themselves)  might be able to recommend someone to you as well.