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Now that you have your search terms, it's time to start searching. You can start with Summon, which searches most of the library's collections. It will give you books, scholarly journal articles, news, and videos.

Specific Databases

Summon is useful for searching across many library sources, but sometimes you'll have an easier time searching specific library databases. Try out these for searching specific topics:

For other subject-specific databases, head to our databases page. There you'll be able to find the best databases for specific subjects like history, business, or psychology.

Searching databases can be tricky. For help navigating specific databases, check out our tutorials.

I Can't Find What I Need -- Now What?

You've created your keywords, you searched our databases, but still aren't finding what you're looking for? Don't panic! Here are some important search tips:

  • Start with your search terms from step 2. If you don't get many results, you may want to switch to the synonyms and see if that gives you more hits.
  • Most databases provide options to help you narrow down your search based on article type, publication year, and major subjects. These are usually on the left or right-hand side of your results page.
  • Are you getting very few or no results? You might want to consider broadening your topic. Using our dress codes and grades example from step 2, if you get too few results, think a little broadly. Instead of looking directly at grades, maybe there are more articles looking how dress codes affect student conduct.
  • Are you getting too many results? You may want to narrow down your topic instead. If you're getting thousands of articles about dress codes and grades, maybe narrow down to a specific age range. For example, you may want to focus instead on how dress codes might affect grades in elementary school.
  • You may not find an article that directly addresses your topic. However, just because an article isn't exactly about your topic doesn't mean it might not have useful information! Skim for quotes or data you can use.
  • Still having trouble? Reach out to a librarian to get one-on-one help via email, instant chat, or a scheduled consultation!