Skip to Main Content

UNIV 120 / ARSC 120 Transfer Seminars

Finding Books and Articles on Any Topic

Near the beginning of your research process, you can use these general search tools to help you find sources on any topic. 

DELCAT is the online library catalog. You can find print books, e-books, articles, videos, and more. For tips on searching, watch this video or see this guide. To learn how to find a book in the library, watch this video

  • Academic OneFile
    Use this database to find scholarly, news, or magazine articles on any topic. While this is a good starting point, using the subject databases listed below will help you do more specific searches and find more relevant articles.

Finding Articles with Subject Databases

Once you have a general understanding of your topic, it is helpful to use subject databases to do more specific searches and find relevant, specialized sources. You can start by browsing this list and selecting subject databases to search. Watch this video for a quick overview of how to access electronic articles through databases. 

Search Strategies

Using library search tools can feel very different than doing a Google search. To get the best results, you can use these strategies.

  • Develop Keywords
    Before you search, take time to make a list of terminology related to your topic. You can glean terms from your background research and use the 5W questions (who, what, when, where, why) to help you develop a good list. Try to think through all the facets of your topic, and be sure to add synonyms and related terms. If you're not getting the best results when you search with one term, just switch it out for another and keep exploring. 
  • Use Search Connectors
    When you construct a search in a database, you'll usually see search connectors such as "AND" and "OR." Use AND to connect two or more keywords and get results that address all of the terms. Use OR if you want to include a variety of synonyms. 
  • Use Truncation
    If you have a term with several possible endings and you want to include them all, add an asterisk. For example, searching for econom* will include results for economy, economies, economic, and economics.