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Research Strategies: Home

This LibGuide is designed to provide you with several ideas and starting points for beginning your research.

Start Your Search with a General Library Database

Start your search for a topic with a multi-disciplinary library database, such as this one from ProQuest.

ProQuest Central

Be certain to view the "related searches" link for ideas about narrowing your topic.

Supplement Your Search in Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and formats: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions.  You can also search for information from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. 

Google Scholar may be a good starting place, but it is not comprehensive enough to be the only place to do in-depth research.

For more precise searching, more search features, and more content, use the library subscription databases that are most appropriate for your subject.  Take a moment to read the brief description of each database on the A-Z Databases page or ask a Librarian to guide you in choosing the best database for your specific research needs.

Google Scholar Search

Search Tips

Here are some search tips developed by library staff that may be helpful to you in doing information searches.  Key to successful searching is developing a search strategy.  Some specific questions you might ask yourself as you choose a topic are:

· What terms can be used to describe your topic?

· What synonyms exist for your keywords?

· Are there particular aspects of your topic you are interested in?

· What resources are available on your topic (i.e. general or subject library databases, credible Web sites, print and/or electronic materials)?

· How will you decide when your search is complete?

· What would a successful search on your topic look like?

· What strategies will you employ if you get stuck?

Take note: Library databases typically perform searches using Boolean language (of keywords and connecting terms like AND).  Using natural spoken language phrases sometimes does not translate well in library databases.

We are happy to help you if you need assistance developing your strategy or conducting searches.

Key Research Terms to Master

Develop A Search Plan

Diversity in searching strategies, proper planning, refining searches, and adequately delving into a topic are all important aspects of successful search strategies.

Ask for Help

Consult with a Librarian in person at the Reference Desk, by phone at 886-6478 or email

Challenge Yourself to Become a Smart Searcher!