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Research: Finding Information

How to find information using the library's resources.

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What are Databases?

There are many types of databases that you can use for your research. The database you choose will depend on what type of information you want to find. 

Research databases, such as JSTOR, ProQuest, and Academic Search Premier, uncover the world of scholarly information. Most of the content in these databases is only available through the library. The complete list of databases is on the Databases A-Z list. The Library has purchased access to hundreds of databases on your behalf. There is no charge to use these resources.


Search Engines 

Defining scope:

 Indexes the web which provides way to find information on any topic

Scope of information: Search engines, such as Google, make finding general information on pretty much any topic fairly easy. You may get millions of results for a search, with only the first 10 readily visible
Narrow your search: 

Ability to focus a search on a type of consumer-oriented content, such as news, shopping, and images

Information strengths: Information from organizations, including reports, white papers, and company information
Evaluating content: Since anyone can share information online, you have to carefully check any information that you may want to use in your academic work.


Research Databases

Defining scope: Highly organized information that allows you to find information with high relevance to search terms
Scope of information: Collections of information that are organized by subject, theme, genre, language, and other factors
Narrow your search:  Robust tools allow you to narrow efficiently by dozens of categories
Information strengths: Primary and secondary sources in an array of formats including journal articles, ebooks, historical documents, videos, music, images, data, and newspapers. 
Evaluating content: Verified, often peer-reviewed, high-quality content from carefully selected sources


Let us search for the same thing in Google and in a general academic database called Academic Search Premier.

Search for the impact of social media on teenagers


Results in Google

Notes about these results in Google:

  • 106,000,000 results
  • Scholarly journals show up first
  • Ability to quickly sort based on top Google categories: News, Images, Videos, Shopping


Search results in Academic Search Premier

Notes about these results in the Academic Search Premier database:

  • 69 results
  • 53 are from academic journals
  • Able to quickly sort by scholarly qualification and publication date