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Research Basics


The Research Basics Guide was created by West Coast University Library staff to help you learn everything from choosing a research topic to finding trustworthy sources, making your academic journey smoother and more successful. There is a diverse range of research tools to help you:

Research Assistance eBooks

Check out some of WCU’s eBooks about research!  Didn’t find what you were looking for?  Ask a library staff member!  Additional resources can be found at each campus.

Online Databases

This box contains only select databases meant for use by multiple programs. Use the "info" icon to learn more about the database. 

For a full list of databases available through the WCU Library, visit the A-Z Database List.  For databases best for your program, find and visit your program guide on the Research Guides page.

How to Search WCU Databases

Find a Book in Your Library

When you walk in a library and see books on the shelves, the call number is usually seen on the bottom part of a book’s spine.

Library staff put spine labels (see below) on their books to organize them according to subject.

Search the library’s online catalog to view the call number of the book you are interested in checking out, so you will be able to swiftly locate the book in the library.


You can view the subclasses of R (Medicine) to familiarize yourself with the various subjects to have a better understanding when searching for books.

Special collections and locations are as follows:

  • "REF" means that the item is in the Reference Collection. These items do not check out, but may be used in the library. These items are separate from the general collection.
  • "TEXTBOOK REF" means that the item is a Course Reserve item. These items may be checked out for two hour in-library-use only. Often these items are kept in a separate or locked location; consult your library staff member about where to find them.
  • Media items will have a suffix that indicates the type of media, like "DVD". Consult your library staff member about where to find them and any special rules about their use.

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