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Apparel Design



Welcome to the James E. Shepard Memorial Library LibGuide for students in the Apparel Design concentration. This LibGuide is intended to be a starting point for your research. Use the tabs to the left to navigate through the different sections of this guide. 

We are here to help you with your research. 

If you would like to make an appointment to receive one-on-one help with your research project or have any questions, you are welcome to email me or visit my office on the 2nd floor of Shepard Library in room 229. I can help with planning a search strategy and deciding where to get started, as well as with evaluating sources you've found. It's important for you to hone your own research skills through practice, but you do not need to spin your wheels unproductively in frustration before you ask for help. 


Call | (919) 530-6473 & ask to speak with a Reference Librarian.      

Text | (919) 799-2182   

Danielle Colbert-Lewis                                                                                                                          Head of Research & Instructional Services

Tips For Beginning Your Search

Step 1: SELECT YOUR TOPIC | Before you can do any research, you need to be clear about what you are researching. A helpful way to clarify your topic is to state your topic in the form of a question. Example Question - What effect does alcohol abuse have on college students?                                                                      

Step 2: IDENTIFY KEY WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOUR TOPIC | Make a list of words and terms that describe your topic. To this list add synonyms of those words and other terms related to your topic. Example Keywords - alcohol abuse, college students | Examples of Related Words - alcoholism, binge drinking, young adults                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

This is a very important step because almost all of your subsequent research will involve entering these words into various search engines (examples, the library catalog to find books, a research database to find a journal article).                                                                                                                                                                            

STEP 3: FIND BACKGROUND INFORMATION | Begin your search with printed or online encyclopedias such as Credo Reference or Britannica Online, using the keywords and related words that you identified as your search terms in Steps 1 and 2. Articles in encyclopedias and similar sources will help you refine your topic. Note any relevant references to books, articles, and other information in the bibliographies at the end of the encyclopedia articles because you may want to use them in your research.


Step 4: USE SHEPARD LIBRARY'S ONLINE CATALOG TO FIND BOOKS | Using words that describe your topic (Identified in Steps 1 and 2 above), do a Keyword search to find books relevant to your topic in the library's online catalog. Once you find appropriate materials, note the citation (author, title, etc.), call number, location, and circulation status of the book.


STEP 5: USE RESEARCH DATABASES TO FIND JOURNAL ARTICLES | Consult a research database such as Academic Search Complete to find articles on your chosen topic. Some search results will include the full text of the article. If the full text is not included, use Journal Finder to see if the full text is available in the library or in another research database. If the full text is not available, you may use the library's Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Service to borrow books or obtain copies of articles not available at NCCU. 


STEP 6: EVALUATE WHAT YOU FIND | Evaluate the authority and quality of the materials you have located. Consider the author, publisher, and date of each resource. Is the material comprehensive? Is it biased? Who is the intended audience? Is the article peer-reviewed or from a scholarly journal?


STEP 7: REVIEW YOUR PROGRESS | After you have completed steps 1-6, examine the information that you have collected and ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does it answer the topic question you posed in Step 1?
  • Is your topic question too general?
  • Does it need to be more specific?
  • Do you need more information about any aspect of your topic?
  • After you answer these questions, return to Step 1 and repeat the process. (You may be able to skip Step 3:  Find Background Information.)

Effective searching is both a skill and an art. If you are not happy with what you find immediately, think about ways to improve your search. If you find an overwhelming number of results, you may want to use more specific search terms. If you feel like you're not finding enough articles, you may need to be more general or think of additional synonyms. Remember that while each database operates on the same basic principles, there are myriad differences in interface look-and-feel, sources covered, and the vocabulary used to assign 'subjects' to an article. Do not be surprised if you have to go through a little trial and error.