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Research help

This guide will help you at all stages of the research process, from choosing a topic to citing your sources.

Databases listed are essential for beginning research on any topic.   

Scholarly and Academic ebooks

Search strategy overview - databases

Use these tipsWork smarter, not harder. when you search the CSM library databases. Your search results will be more focused and relevant to your topic!

  1. Use quotation marks around phrases and search terms to search for the words in the exact order you would like, instead of separately.
    Basic search, "emotional support animals"
  2. Use different search boxes for each different idea that makes up your overall topic.
    Advanced search


Too Many Results? Too Few Results?
  1. Add in additional search terms.
  2. Limit to peer-reviewed journals.
  3. Limit by date.
  4. Limit by subject.
  5. Limit to items with full-text availability.
  6. Change the search box dropdown menu to "Abstract" or "Subject."
  1. Verify that you spelled everything correctly.
  2. Erase unnecessary search terms.
  3. Try different search terms.
  4. Use the Boolean operator OR between search terms.
  5. Remove any limits you may have added to an earlier search.
  6. Change the search box dropdown menu to "All Text" or "Entire Document."
Need help with too many or too few results? Call, email or stop by  a campus library and see a librarian!

Google like a librarian

We all use it - now let's learn to use it better!

  1. Use quotation marks around your search terms to search for the words in the exact order you would like, instead of separately.
    Google - "quotation marks"
  2. Use intitle: to retrieve webpages with your keywords in the title of the webpage.
    Google - intitle: search
  3. Use site:. to retrieve webpages from URLs in the domain (.gov, .edu, .org) you specify.  
    Google - site:. search
  4. Use - (a hyphen or minus sign) in front of words to exclude them from your search results.
    Google - NOT
  5. Use OR in between words to have either or both of the words included in your search results. OR must be capitalized. This is a good way to search for synonyms.
    Google - OR
    In the above example, Google will find results that include (election AND fraud) and (voter AND fraud).
  6. Use filetype: to retrieve specific types of files (instead of html webpages). Works for finding most file types.
    filetype: search
  7. Use several strategies at once for very specific results.
    Google - all of the above search strategies!