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How to Use the Library Databases

This library research guide provides an introduction to using the library databases.

Tips for Searching the Databases

Research is a process! Try one search and evaluate your results. If necessary, modify your strategy (use different keywords, try using the Boolean operators, etc.) and try again.

  • Start with simple keyword searches
  • Use the database options to Refine or Limit and narrow your search
  • Remember that although one database may look very different from another, most databases are searchable in similar ways and function comparably
  • Evaluate a source by reading the Abstract or summary
  • Review your results to identify concepts, keywords, and other terminology that can help improve your search results
  • Check the Subject Headings and Descriptors, standard vocabulary terms that describe the contents of resources
  • Use the different limits available in most databases to help narrow down your results. Of course, if you're not getting enough results, you may need to broaden your search term(s) or select fewer limits.

    Some examples of limits are:

    • full text
    • publication date
    • publication type (such as journal, magazine, e-book, etc.)
    • type of journal (such as peer-reviewed)


  • Look for database Tools or Options to Email, Save and Cite articles.

Scholarly Journal, Trade Magazine, or Popular Magazine

scholarly vs popular vs trade


peer review definition

Fishing for Information

                          fishing for information infographic


Angie, Locke. Fishing for Information. 2015, Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.