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Research Basics

This guide contains tips and tricks for general research success!

Where to begin?

There are many ways to find sources for your topic. Watch the quick video below to learn how to decide where to begin searching. Click the tabs to the left to find more information about using Doane's library catalog, the databases, etc.

Should I be using Google or the Library resources for a paper?

Video Length: 1:40

Used with permission from the Ronald Williams Library at Northeastern Illinois University.

How to Search

You need to use keywords when searching for materials in library databases. Typing a whole question into a database search box will not yield as many useful results. As you search, keep track of different terms authors use when talking about your topic. Adding these to your search strategy will likely help you find more useful sources.

Most databases use what is called Boolean logic. This is a way to combine your keywords to make your searches more efficient. Boolean operators include AND (narrows your search), OR (broadens your search), and NOT (excludes terms to narrow further).

This short video gives an overview of the best way to search in a database:

Video Length: 1:28

Used with permission from the Ronald Williams Library at Northeastern Illinois University.

The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into most databases' search boxes.

Concept 1 and Concept 2 and Concept 3
Name your concepts here    
Search terms Search terms Search terms
List alternate terms for each concept.

These can be synonyms, or they can be specific examples of the concept.

Use single words, or "short phrases" in quotes

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

or

The Search Strategy Builder was developed by the University of Arizona Libraries and is used under a Creative Commons License.

Find Peer-Reviewed Articles

Library databases contain vast amounts of collected information. They will help you find sources that are tailored to your research topic. Below are just a few of the many databases Doane subscribes to. Not seeing what you need? Check out our full A-Z Database Listing.

Need subject-specific research help? See our full list of Research Guides or contact the library for one-on-one research assistance.

Find Books

Books are a great source of in-depth information about a large or complex topic. Because they are longer works, books can place a topic in a larger context by providing multiple viewpoints, historical context, or interdisciplinary perspectives. The Doane Library catalog is where you will go to find books and eBooks that can help you with your research project. Need help using the catalog? Jump to the Library Catalog How-To.

Find Newspapers and Magazines