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HON X298 Introduction to Research @ IU

Finding Materials

General Searching (Multi-Disciplinary) Databases


Searching for Resources by Discipline

Check out subject-specific resources by clicking this link. These resources can be helpful as you move through courses specific to your major(s) or minor(s)


Resources A-Z

Alphabetical list of databases accessible to all IU Bloomington students:

Things to keep in mind:

  • E-Books can only be accessed if the link says "IU Bloomington" or "All Campus Access"
  • Request delivery allows you to borrow books from other campuses or branch libraries (Education, Neal-Marshall, etc.) and have books delivered to one convenient location. You can request delivery once you are logged into IUCAT.
  • Renewing books is as simple as logging into IUCAT and clicking "My Account" and "Renew."

Can't find what you're looking for? Luckily Document Delivery Services (DDS) and Inter-Library (ILL) Loan can help! 

Articles and books from other non-IU libraries can be borrowed for free. Articles will be digitally sent as PDF files to your email and books are delivered and picked up from Wells Library. 

Need to make a request? 

  • Fill out this form to obtain an electronic copy of an article or book delivery

Using Keywords

This quick, 3-minute video explains how to develop keywords. Thinking strategically about your research question and the terms can help you navigate the vast amount of resources more quickly. 

Strategic Searching

Let's talk Strategy

You wouldn't want to rush into the big game without a plan, or hike into the woods without a compass and map, right? 

It's easy to get lost in the amount of information that can be found in databases. You may pick out the perfect keywords only to find little to no results related to your topic. Does that mean the information you need isn't out there? Not necessarily! 

Think about your research question, the scope of your investigation, and the keywords you may have begun generating for your topic. 

In order to find and use information, you may need to take a step back and think about what you've already identified. 

Ask yourself some of the following questions: 

  • Is this the right search engine or database? Can I find the information I need here? 
  • What keywords am I using? Is there another way to talk about what I'm trying to find? Do the people talking about this topic use different terms or phrases than I'm using? 
  • Could I use controlled language or subject terms? What types of labels has the database assigned to similar sources? 
  • What other requirements am I looking for and how can I narrow my results? Does it need to be scholarly or peer-reviewed? Does this information need to be a recent as possible?

You can also modify your results using various search strategies. The default of search engines and most databases is to separate keywords and search for them separately.

The Power of And, Or, and Not

In a library database, you can control your results by connecting keywords with AND, OR, NOT, and by using other search strategies like putting "quotation marks" around phrases to keep them together in the search.

Use AND to narrow your results. Your results must include each term.

Use OR to broaden your results. Your results could include any one of the terms. 

Use NOT to exclude terms from your results. 

Quotation marks narrow your results by keeping words in a phrase together. 

We can often do research without really thinking about it. But how do we know if our research strategy is the best or most efficient? What if we can't remember what's worked well or what hasn't in the past? 

Using a Research Log to Document Your Search

research log is a document that helps you keep track of and think about how you search for sources. A research log can be as informal as jotting down keywords and notes informally, or it can be more structured like writing annotations or summaries of sources and how they might fit into your project. 

Materials from the Information Literacy Toolkit by Meg Meiman, which adapted materials from Maria Accardi & Tessa Withorn's Canvas module Access & Use.