One of the nice things about working on an online degree program is that, well, everything is online, at your fingertips. That includes library resources like journal databases and interlibrary loan materials.
Sometimes online research is trickier than it looks at first blush. However, with a few helpful tips, you’ll be surfing the library databases with ease.
Tip #1: Start broad and narrow down.
Sometimes you’re not really sure what you’re looking for. By starting with a broad focus, you’ll find a few articles that will give you more search terms to work with. Using the new search terms, you’ll be able to narrow your search and find some articles that really work for your research.
Tip #2: Try Boolean operators.
Boolean operators work on the logical connections between terms. There are 3 Boolean operators you might use when you’re researching:
AND: If you use AND between two search terms, you’ll get back search results with both of those terms. For example, if you’re searching for “Christmas AND Thanksgiving” you’ll get search results that have both of those terms.
OR: OR will broaden your search and will retrieve any words separated by OR. For example, searching for “Christmas OR Thanksgiving” will get you results on either search term.
NOT: NOT will narrow your search by ignoring the term that follows NOT. For example, a search like “Christmas NOT Thanksgiving” will get you results only on Christmas.
Tip #3: Ask a Librarian
Librarians are trained to do research and trained to help students do research. If you get stuck, call or email your local or college librarian. He or she will do their very best to get you the research help you need.