Ask a Librarian

“I need help!” Research Help and Consultations to the Rescue

by Ere Rumsey and Jennifer Rundels

Your instructor has given you a research assignment. Now what? Where do you start? Where is the best place to find resources? What if you can’t find any or enough sources?

Don’t despair. Research help is right around the corner or, if you prefer, at your fingertips!

Stop by the Research Help Desk

Located on the second floor of the Park Library, the Research Help desk is open during all main library hours. Staffed by friendly and knowledgeable student assistants, who are often your first point of contact to get research help, this is a great place to start. Student assistants can help you with basic research needs, like finding books, e-books, articles, media, and other physical and electronic resources. They can also show you how to use SmartSearch and find databases.

Should you need in-depth research help or wish to speak to a librarian, student assistants will connect you with the available librarian. A librarian will be available in person or over the phone during these research help hours. Additionally, if subject expertise is needed, student assistants can refer you to your subject librarian.

Ask a Librarian

Can’t come to the library? No problem. You can use our online Ask a Librarian form. This is a quick and convenient way to get research help. Simply enter your question or research topic and your contact information and a librarian will respond to you via email typically within 24 hours. Librarians can provide recommended databases and search terms as well as resources to help you get started with their research.

Chat with us

Using chat is an option for getting immediate assistance during the main library hours. While this is not a new service, many patrons were unaware they could chat with a librarian or student assistant. To increase awareness, the library’s website now features a chat widget on its search pages. You can also chat directly from most of the library’s web pages, including the Ask a Librarian page. Chat is a great way to get answers to quick research questions. Librarians can even attach links or documents during the chat so you can access information easily. The next time you are stuck and see that chat option pop up, don’t hesitate to click on it and ask your question!

Schedule a Research Consultation

Want more personalized, in-depth assistance?  Subject librarians are eager to meet with you to provide one-on-one research consultations.  During research consultations, librarians can help develop research topics, select subject-specific databases, identify relevant search terms, and construct effective search strategies. Librarians can also provide guidance on how to evaluate and cite sources.

You can meet with your subject librarian face-to-face, by phone, or online via WebEx. Schedule a consultation by selecting your subject area, subject librarian, and a time convenient for you. Or you can email your subject librarian directly to schedule a consultation. Go to the Subject Librarians page to find their contact information.

Search the CMU Library FAQ

Do you have a more general question? Chances are someone else has asked the same question before and it may have been answered and added to FAQ by one of our librarians. CMU Library FAQ allows you to browse or search hundreds of frequently asked questions, such as how to cite sources or format a paper.

Browse our Research Guides

Overwhelmed with the vast number of resources available at the library?  Not sure which databases are best for finding scholarly or peer-reviewed articles on your topic?  Browse Subject Guides and  Course Guides to quickly locate subject-specific and course-related resources that have been vetted by librarians. Find journal articles, databases, books and e-books, streaming videos, and more!

Need help developing a research topic, doing your literature review, or citing your resources? Our How to Guides provide useful information on these topics and so much more!

Call, text, or email

You can also get research help by calling (989) 774-3470 or texting (989) 863-4639 or emailing

We look forward to working with you and providing the research help you need!

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