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Research Like a Scholar

How Scholarly is Your Research?

Tips for Successful Research

  1. Get to know the assignment! Important dates, citation style, final product, source criteria
  2. Get an early start! Ask for help along the way (earlier is better)
  3. Get and stay organized! - (use “Technology Tips” to help with this one)
  4. Do NOT rely solely on Google! - Use databases and check sources for C.R.A.A.P.
  5. Avoid Plagiarism! - Don’t look; Don’t “borrow”
  6. Ask for Help! - Stop by the library or email Ms. Adams

Getting Organized

Determine your information needs based on the assignment criteria and your general knowledge about the topic. If it is an unfamiliar topic, start general to gather some basic information.
- Gather General Information =  a good place to start is an encyclopedia like Britannica or Credo Reference are online and can be accessed through DISCUS.
- In-depth research on the topic = Search with Google Scholar or databases (DISCUS) for Scholarly Journal Articles, online newspaper indexes can also be useful for current event topics
- Books for established information topics = search using library catalog

Use smart information search habits
- develop keyword lists that include synonyms related to your topic
- narrow or broaden your results by adding or removing search terms
- use boolean logic to string together searches, eliminating “stop” words (conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs or forms of “be”)

Choosing the Best Search!

Iceberg Graphic


Search Engine or Database?

Whatever search you choose, BE SURE to put your INFORMATION through the C.R.A.A.P. Test!

Does it pass the C.R.A.A.P. Test?

Even when using a database, you will want to make sure the sources you use are:
current enough for, relevant to, and satisfy the purpose of your project!

Why Databases?

Things to Remember when searching Databases:

  • Databases to don’t respond to questions like Google and other online search engines
  • Use keywords and the synonyms from your list to device searches using Boolean Operators
  • Utilize truncation, wildcards, phrase searches (“”) use related subject links to focus results
  • Check the Search “Help” for the particular database you are using and learn more
  • Using “Advanced” searches allows for customized searches
  • Full-text Scholarly “peer reviewed” Journal articles are available

Keywords are "key" to successful database searches!

Choosing the Best Search!

Learn the basics about searching databases and popular information sources provided by your Library and/or DISCUS (visit the LMC for off campus access to DISCUS).


Let's Review Tips for Searching Databases!

1. Use Advanced Search - allows you to search multiple KEYWORDS at once

2. Use Boolean Operators (AND, OR & NOT) to narrow or broaden search, AND to get results with all of your terms, OR to search for articles that have any of your terms, and NOT to exclude unwanted terms (Default search in Ebscohost)

3. Check Full Text to get only articles in their entirety, and select Scholarly or Peer Reviewed for articles reviewed by experts before article publication

4. Stay away from searches that are too broad or too narrow 

5. Use quotations around terms that go together (Phrase searching), (search for "death camps" or "concentration camps" "extermination camp")

6. Look for similar and official subjects for your topic (Use Ebscohost Academic Search Premier's Subject Terms to add keywords or search phrases, Explode pertinent subjects to find broader/narrower terms) 

7. Search within a certain publication

8. Use the Cite feature to help with Reference lists 

Do Search the Library Catalog!

Don't ignore one of the most accessible resources to you, the library collection!
Do use any computer to search for library books and digital sources on your topic.

Can't find it?
Ask ask a library staff member for help!

Let's Go Search! 
Go to the Library Catalog
Search by clicking on the magnifier icon and then using keywords, subject terms, or author names. 

You can also browse by resource type. Scroll down the ribbons of cover images to find books, eBooks, audiobooks and Learning Resources 
Books that are available will have the green box indicating "In". If something is NOT available you may put a hold on it! 

Database list will show the number of results in many of the DISCUS databases!

TOO many results, not exactly what you need, the NARROW results using phrase searches ( "football injuries" ).

Choosing the Best Search!

What's the Difference? Scholarly Journals vs. Magazines

Checkout the following Resources to learn the Basic Differences between Magazines and Scholarly Journals:

Cite Your Sources!  

Databases include Citing icons and tools!

Use citation tools in conjunction with Google Docs! Create bibliographies using "Citations" under the "Tools" menu!

** Remember to always check your citations for accuracy. Make corrections as needed!

HELPFUL HINT - Look for icons that provide "permalinks" to get you back to the sources you find!