The following are answers to Frequently Asked Questions that many of our patrons pose. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

Questions about the Library

Q. I am not in Charlotte, NC. Is there a way I can checkout materials from your Library?
A. Yes, as a last resort.  But we strongly encourage you to check your local library. See the section for online students. Also, in the future, we plan to add many more online and electronic resources to improve your research experience.

Q. How long can I borrow books and other library materials?
A. Books have a 21-day checkout period and audiovisuals and periodicals have a 7-day checkout period.

Q. How many times can I renew a book?
A. You may renew an item an unlimited number of times unless it is requested by another patron.

Q. How can I find newspaper or magazine articles?
A. Our library website lists several sources of magazines & newspapers. Just visit the Newspapers & Magazines link from the drop-down menu. Your local library will likely also have such resources.

Q. How can I locate a library near me?
A. You may locate your local library in several ways, for example, using a telephone book, using a Google search or

Questions about Writing and Research

Q. What is plagiarism?
A. Plagiarism is using words stated by someone else without giving them proper credit. Essentially, it is steeling the thoughts and ideas of another without giving them credit.

Q. How do I research a topic?
A. There are many ways to go about researching a topic. The following link brings you to a website that provides examples of how to do this.

Q. How do I do a word search?
A. A word search allows you to look for a particular word in the Bible or study each use of that word in the Bible. Click on the link below in order to learn how to do an online word search using the Blue Letter Bible.

Q. How do I do an Old Testament or New Testament word study?
A. Word studies are not difficulty once you learn the basics. Click on the link below to be shown how to do such a study. This link shows you how to do a word study with Logos software, but it is similar with most Bible software. 

Q. How do I write an essay or essay question?
A. For details, click on the links below.

Q. What are primary sources?
A. For those doing research, primary sources are often in the form of journal articles or scientific notes, as opposed to a source that quotes from one of these sources (this might be a secondary source). For historians, primary sources can include letters, diaries, interviews, home movies, photos, and the like. As a rule of thumb, a primary source does not cite or quote another source for factual information.

Q. How do I reference a magazine, book, online source, interview, or other sources?
A. Visit our Citing Sources page and choose the MLA style for Living University papers.

Q. What is the difference between magazine and newspaper article and scholarly journal articles?
A. Magazine and newspaper articles are written for the general public and present the “slant” or bias of the author and the publication. Scholarly articles are considered more accurate and go through a “peer review” process that critiques the claims and helps ensure accuracy. In addition, scholarly articles are written by highly trained experts in the field, as opposed to journalists who may or may not have any background in the field.

Q. How do I read and understand a scholarly journal article?
A. Scholarly journal articles may seem difficult to read, but there are a few keys to reading and making sense of them. If you understand the way these articles are "set up" or formatted, you can more easily review and understand them. Start with the Abstract - which is the short summary of the article. By reading this short section you will know what to expect and the basic results of the study or research. The Introduction gives you the background on the topic and shares the research. The Methods section lets you know how the research was conducted. This section is important, but not necessary to understand the results. The Results section give details on the findings of the research. This section can be helpful, but also technical. The Conclusion section shares the overall results and sometimes implications for the research. To skim over a scholarly journal article quickly, read the Abstract, and the Conclusion sections. You may also want to quicly view the Results section for more details. Click on the link below for a visual overview of scholarly journal articles.

Q. Google vs. Google Scholar: What’s the difference?
A. Search engines, like Google (, search the Internet for free information. The fact is that most scholarly information is not free. Because Google retrieves resources regardless of the source or research, it requires additional personal evaluation. In fact, Google has been described as a “popularity contest” since it lists information partly by the popularity of its sources. This means, for example, that information found in Wikipedia might be listed above scholarly sources less frequently referred to.  Scholarly publications, as opposed to popular publications, are authored by scholars for other scholars, and are commonly journal articles.

Google Scholar’s ( research is prioritized by whether the document is full text, who the author is and frequency of cites in other scholarly works. In Google’s own words, “Google scholar provides searches for articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.” Your research may start with Google, but you may need to switch to Google Scholar to support your stance with more scholarly resources.

However, since Google Scholar does not link with all available information sources, you may need to use a database to complete your research. Databases are electronic collections of information, including but not limited to, full-text citations or abstracts of books, magazines, journals and newspaper articles.  Databases can provide information on one or multiple topics. Search databases by author, title, keyword or subject and use the “Advanced” and “Check for full text” searching options to view additional databases.