Graduate Studies @ Fontbonne

Some Questions to Think About

General Subject Area

  • What is known about the subject?
  • Are there any gaps in the knowledge of the subject?
  • Have areas of further study been identified by other researchers?
  • Who are the significant personalities in this conversation? Who's publishing? Who's being cited?

Specific Topic or Question

  • Is there consensus about the topic?
  • What aspects have generated significant debate on the topic?
  • What methods or problems have been identified by others and how might they impact your research?
  • What is the most productive methodology for your research based on the literature you have reviewed?

Big Picture Questions

  • What is the current status of research in this area?
  • What sources of information or data have been identified that might be useful to you?
  • What is your scope? Will you focus on a specific kind of source? How detailed does your review need to be? Will it be necessary to review ALL relevant material or will the scope be limited to more recent material, e.g., the last five years.
  • What is your approach? Are you focusing on methodological approaches; on theoretical issues; on qualitative or quantitative research?

As You Read

As you assess each source (article, book, chapter, etc.), consider the following:

Focus — Does the source address a specific argument, problem, or issue? Is its significance clearly defined? (i.e., scope, severity, relevance).

  • Scope — Is the question clearly defined? Is the methodology clearly identified and appropriate to the question? 
  • Provenance — What are the author(s)' credentials? What do you know about their research orientation or theoretical framework? 
  • Objectivity — Are the arguments supported by evidence? (primary historical material, case studies, ethnographic narratives, statistics, recent published findings).  Is the perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Is contrary data considered or is certain pertinent information ignored to prove a point?
  • Context — How does the research fit into the larger landscape? What does it have to say about previous or contemporary work? Are there suggestions for further study?
  • Audience — Who is the intended audience? Is the presentation appropriate?
  • Persuasiveness — Which of the theses or arguments are most/least convincing? Can you follow the logical flow of the argument? Is the evidence presented relevant and accurate? Are the conclusions logical and valid? Is there another perspective that has not been considered? 
  • Value — Are the arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject?
  • Relevance — How does this relate to my particular research question or problem? 


About Interlibrary Loan

Items not available through the Fontbonne Catalog or our Digital Resources can be requested from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan services.

Journal articles that are not available in the Fontbonne collection may be requested through Interlibrary Loan.

Before requesting an article, please use to see if the journal you need is available in one of Fontbonne Library's databases or in print in the library. If so, you can retrieve it yourself or ask for help at the front desk.

Limit of 10 requests/person each day.

You will be notified via your Fontbonne email when the article is available. Please allow 3-5 days for requests to be filled.

Books and Book Chapters
When materials are available in the library, patrons are expected to retrieve the item themselves. If books are not available at Fontbonne but are available in the Bridges or MOBIUS system, patrons should request them through the catalog. These materials will be available at the Circulation Desk when they arrive on campus.

Patrons can check their library account to see if books are available for pick-up. When books (or dissertations) are not available in MOBIUS, they should be requested through the interlibrary loan services. Audio-visual materials and textbooks are generally not available through interlibrary loan.

If you have placed a request and do not hear anything back in a reasonable amount of time (1 week for articles; 2 weeks for books), please let us know so we can follow up for you.

If you have questions, contact us at or 314-719-3666.

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All guides licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.