Extra Credit: Visit Your Local Library and Consult Librarians and Reference Materials
You’ve done your homework, looked up some studies, read both sides of an argument, and you’re still not sure what to believe, or if there’s enough information to believe anything. That’s great—you’re still hungry for information, and there’s one place left to get it: your local library. Photo by Manchester City Library.
If you catch yourself unable to download a specific study, or the study is so old (or too new!) that it’s not available, or you just want help getting to the bottom of an issue, visit your library’s reference desk. Often, public libraries—and especially university libraries—have free access to scholarly journals and their archives so you can download, print, and read full-text articles you wouldn’t be able to get at home. Even many university libraries only require student ID if you’re going to check something out, so they’re a great resource for everyone.
"Most university librarians will happily provide you a copy of a paper if you or someone you know is enrolled in the university," McRaney adds. If you are going to chat up your local reference librarian, see what they think of the topic, and if they can do some digging on your behalf. Most often, they can do some research for you and present you with findings to read through, or they can at least help guide you to authoritative sources on the topic.