Searching Databases for Sources

In most cases, searching databases is different than searching Google. Typically, this is because databases are enabled to do powerful, research keyword searches across peer-reviewed literature, whereas Google performs natural language searching across web pages and freely-available documents.

What this means for you is that you'll need to develop refined research skills using databases to discover information about your topic. Below is a fool-proof recipe to help you find refine your topic and find information.

  • Phrase your topic as a question, and then write it out in a sentence (make sure your topic is specific enough)
  • Break it into the important concepts
  • Be sure to think of as many synonyms or alternate terms as you can (use a thesaurus!)
  • Connect your concepts with AND and your similar terms with OR (use not to exclude common meanings you don't want)