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Library DIY

A how-to guide with advice, videos, tutorials, and quizzes

CHOOSING THE RIGHT DATABASE

Quick Advice

Use your library to access databases for more scholarly results and better searches than those available on the open web. When using the Library's databases, it is important to select the correct ones for your research needs.  

Here are some tips to help you find the right database from the library website:

  • On the Databases A-Z page, you can view a list of the databases in a given subject by using the drop down menu at the top. Check out the Popular Databases on the right. Most of those are general interest databases that cover all subjects and topics. 

  • Use general reference databases such as Credo Reference for background information on your topic.

  • Check out the library’s research guides for resources relevant to your subject, class, or research topic. 

  • Ask a librarian for help choosing an appropriate database for your area of study.

 

Learning Modules

CHOOSING & USING KEYWORDS FOR SEARCHING 

Quick Advice


Once you have your thesis, but before you can start researching, you need to think about the keywords and concepts of your thesis question.

  • What are the 2 or 3 main concepts of your research question?

  • Once you have your concepts, try to think of other terms that are similar to your concepts.

    • Sometimes these words will have similar meanings or they will be more broad or narrow ways to think of the subject.

REFINING SEARCH RESULTS - making the library databases work for you

Advice

Built-in database tools will help you manage your search results. In most library databases, you can:

  • Use filters to narrow your results by date, subject, availability, and so on.
  • Use filters to find peer-reviewed sources for assignments.
  • Save relevant sources.
  • Export citations for your bibliography.
  • Email articles, abstracts, and documents to your personal email.

 

Learning Modules

HELP SEARCHING THE "OPEN WEB"

Quick Advice

Most people use Google for their open or free web searches.  There is a lot of information out there but remember to put all your resources through the CRAAP Test to see if they are usable.

Here are some hints to help you with searching the open web:

  • You may need to use different combinations of keywords to get the best results.
  • Don't be afraid to look at the search results on page 2 or even page 3. 
  • Use Google search operators or Google advanced search for the best search results. 
  • You should never have to pay for an article from Google.  Please contact a librarian if you are being charged for something.  We can usually get it to you for free!
  • Use Google Scholar if you want to try another method to finding scholarly/academic literature. Consult the Google Scholar research guide for help linking Google Scholar to the UHMC library collection.