What have people been asking via our virtual help service, Ask a Librarian?

We get a wide variety of questions via our virtual help service, Ask a Librarian. We help people find the books, articles, and other sources they need for research papers or projects.

Here are just a few of the topics we’ve helped research recently:

  • Josephine Baker’s career and impact on music
  • How people decide which media sources they trust
  • Barriers to mental health care among Asian Americans
  • Chicago Tribune articles about Bay of Pigs Invasion
  • Transgenic trait selection in sorghum
  • Potential expansion of Major League Baseball
  • How the functions of different areas of the brain were discovered
  • Financial literacy, education level, and poverty
  • Race and beauty standards in South Asia
  • Diverse learners in elementary science education
  • Chicago Defender articles written by Jack L. Cooper
  • Qualitative and quantitative studies on pediatric emergence delirium

Here’s an in-depth look at a recent Ask a Librarian chat conversation:

Student: Hi! I need help thinking of keywords to find sources supporting my argument for a research paper that I am writing.

Librarian: Hi, I’d be happy to help. What’s the topic for your paper?

Student: My topic is about what type of school schedules (traditional school schedules or year-round school schedules) are more beneficial for the well-being of all Americans. I am trying to argue that traditional school schedules are more beneficial for the well-being of all Americans compared to year-round school calendars.

Librarian: Gotcha. Let me do a few searches and then I’ll come back with a few options

Student: Thank you!

Librarian: As for well-being, do you mean psychological?

Student: I mean well-being as success, health and comfort.

Librarian: So ability to succeed as a student and to be physically and psychologically well in a comfortable learning environment?

Student: So yes ability to succeed as a student physically, with increased opportunities for jobs and internships in the summer, and also in the classroom with grades and test scores, and psychologically with increased mental health and being comfortable in a learning environment.

Librarian: Gotcha

Student: I am also trying to point out schools’ well-being of having a traditional school schedule because with year-round schools there will be increased cost for teachers’ salaries, air-conditioning, food supply, and maintenance costs.

Librarian: Okay. Here are some of the keywords that I came across in my searches that might be beneficial to you: year-round schools OR year-round schooling, traditional school calendars OR traditional schooling, school schedules, school year, extended school year, school restructuring, flexible scheduling, time factors, classrooms, academic achievement, and well-being. I conducted most of my searches using ERIC in the Education Research Guide, but I would also suggest using these terms in the databases on the Sociology Research Guide and the Psychology Research Guide.

Student: Thank you very much!

Librarian: You’re welcome! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Student: Ok sounds good!

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