Adult Education and Supervision

Course #: TH761K

Library web site

  • the quickest tour ever: books, articles, journals, theses

What is a library database?

Navigating Library Databases

Well developed research questions can only be developed with a comprehensive understanding of prior research and theory. This understanding is informed by research literature. The challenge is to use the appropriate tools and methods to ensure your search for this literature is both methodical and complete. Here are some steps to fine-tune your searches.*

  1. Formulate specific research questions
    • identify the key elements of your questions
  2. Consider word variations and synonyms
    • widen the scope of your results; think about how others might refer to your ideas
    • e.g, academic outcomes = school performance, grades, GPA, entrance exams, college admission, etc.
  3. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)
    • AND = results will contain all the terms
    • OR = results will contain at least one of the terms
    • NOT = results will exclude the term
    • Parentheses and Boolean operators can be used to set apart search groups
  4. Limit or expand terms
    • "quotation marks" = exact
    • truncat* = truncate, truncates, truncated, truncation, etc.
  5. Employ search limiters (available limiters depend on the database)
    • peer reviewed, article type, date
    • in PsycINFO, can include
      • age group, population group, methodology
  6. Identify key publications and authors
    • note citations, and cited references, repeated author names

Choosing a Library Database

locating books