Before you begin searching, brainstorm a list of keywords that describe your topic. It may be necessary to try multiple approaches to your search in order to generate the best results.
Avoid searching for long phrases or sentences. Extract key concepts instead:
If you are conducting historical research, consider how vocabulary changes over time.
How the databases and library catalog interpret your keywords depends on how you combine them.
If you are not familiar with scholarly publications, it can be difficult to tell the difference between scholarly and popular periodicals. There are no definitive rules for distinguishing between the two, but here are some guidelines:
Scholarly (e.g., academic journals):
Popular (e.g., magazines, newspapers):
Databases that contain both scholarly and popular sources usually allow you to restrict your search to scholarly sources only. Look for an option to display only scholarly or peer-reviewed sources.