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Research Instruction

Information Literacy Concepts

Search Smarter

Search Smarter

There’s an absolutely ridiculous amount of information out there in the world, with more and more being created, published, and shared every day in a huge number of formats. Sure, searching online is easier than it’s ever been, but you’re probably just scratching the surface when you do a search. How can you more effectively explore information to find better resources for your own academic research and daily lives?

Video created by Edmon Low Library and used under a Creative Commons 4.0 CC BY-NC Attribution-Non Commercial License


Getting Started with Library Research

Try Searching in a Variety of ways

Try Searching in a Variety of Ways

1) Search OneSEARCH

a. What is OneSEARCH?

-OneSEARCH is a convenient, easy-to-use search tool that will search nearly all of the library databases at the same time. It searches the library print catalog, EBSCO, ProQuest, GALILEO, Credo, and JSTOR.

-It does not search Axis 360, TREN, or TJL.

b. Benefits of using OneSEARCH:

-A quick way to search that covers most library databases at one time

-Offers a lot of variety in types of sources (For example, you can search for books and articles at the same time)

c. Disadvantages of using OneSEARCH:

-Lots of results

-Results are coming from hundreds of databases at one time, so there will be more irrelevant results


2) Search a General Database

General databases typically include a wide range of topics. These are great for background and overview searches to get you started understanding a topic and discovering various search terms. Some examples include:


3) Search Subject-Specific Databases

What are Subject-Specific Databases?

These databases focus on a single academic discipline or group of related subjects. Examples include:

Benefits of using a subject-specific database:

-More relevant results, assuming you choose an appropriate database

Disadvantages of using a subject-specific database:

-Fewer results

-It takes longer to search multiple individual databases, instead of using one all-emcompassing search tool

Where do I find Subject Specifc Database?

-See our website page called Frequently Used Databases under the Find Menu at the top.

-See our Databases A to Z page for a complete list of individual databases.


4) Google:

Benefits of searching Google:

-Easy and familiar

-May be useful to find basic information to get started searching for more academic resources

-Helpful for doing background research on an author's level of education and life experience

Disadvantages of searching Google:

-Returns millions of results, most of which are not scholarly and not suitable for research papers

Note: Try using Google Scholar which limits mostly to scholarly results and can help redirect you back to scholarly content offered through your library. See the instructional document linked below--"Google Scholar Instructions"