For quick start, use the main search box on the library homepage to search millions of resources at once. You can narrow your search down to articles by clicking the options on the left after you run your search. For more in-depth research, use the Databases link to select the subject or discipline that matches your topic. The category General includes interdisciplinary databases that cover many topics.
Which database should I choose for my topic?
This is a common question because there are so many databases. Here are some tips:
- Choose a multidisciplinary, full text database (under General in the Database Locator) like Academic Search Premier. If you don’t find enough relevant articles, you may want to search a subject-based database.
- Look at the our Subject & Classes to learn how to get started with research in your subject area.
- Librarians can suggest databases for your topic. Contact us by chat, email, text, phone or in person.
How should I search?
Getting started is often the most challenging part of the research process. Keep in mind that conducting research is often more time-consuming than you think! It will probably require that you create multiple searches to find the information that you need, in the same way that you will be expected to write various drafts of a paper. Once you have a topic, the next step is to think of keywords before you begin searching.
Keyword brainstorming ideas:
- Think of words (or phrases) that describe your topic–e.g. names, places, concepts, procedures, events – use nouns – not verbs or adjectives.
- Think of synonyms and terms related to these words/phrases.
- Choose the 2 or 3 words or phrases which best describe your topic.
Using these initial keywords/phrases, search ‘by keyword’. Since you have taken the time to choose your keywords wisely, your initial searches will most likely provide some results relevant to your topic.
Need more good sources? Refine your search!
To find more descriptive keywords that you haven’t thought of, identify a few particulary useful results from your initial searches and
- Click the book or article title for more information.
- Look at the subjects listed in the records.
- Look at the abstract and first few paragraphs of articles.
Now try searching again using the keywords, terms and phrases that better describe your topic, perhaps in combination with some of those on your initial list. This technique helps you refine your searches to yield even more relevant results, and you’ll have the books and articles you need for your paper.
|What kind of research is found in databases?|
|Scholarly ~ disseminates research and academic discussion among professionals within disciplines through scholarly and peer-reviewed journals and books/book chapters. Journals such as Shakespeare Quarterly and Crime, Media, Culture are examples of scholarly sources.||Popular ~ informs and entertains the general public through articles in magazines and newspapers. Magazines like Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, and Psychology Today are examples of popular sources.|