Specific recommended sources are listed in other tabs on this guide. To search for books and articles on your own, search SmartSearch or find a subject-specific database on the A-Z Databases page using the links below.
Savvy researchers know when to use specific types of sources. Here is a quick review of when to use these common types of sources:
Learn background information and synonyms from reference sources. This is when Wikipedia is helpful, although you should also try the database Credo General Reference and the books listed on the Reference Sources page. News Sources can also help you learn more about your topic without being too technical.
Create a list of synonyms. For example, try "attention-deficit disorder" as well as "attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder" and maybe "hyperkinetic reaction of childhood." (These are terms used for the same disorder in various editions of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Use quotation marks around phrases, i.e. "seismic waves" or "acid rain."
Find multiple word endings. This is the asterisk in most library databases. For example "meteor shower*" will find "meteor shower" AND "meteor showers."
Use "united states" not "america" or "USA."
Reviews are NOT helpful articles, unless you want to read someone's opinion about a book or movie they read or watched. Look at "types of articles" in the left column and use the check boxes to select the types of articles you want to include in the list of results. And then you still need to watch for the word "review" as a subject heading.
SmartSearch is a federated search engine, which means it searches multiple library databases at the same time. Click on "Advanced Search" to search within a discipline, such as biology, physics, etc. Multiple disciplines may be searched simultaneously by using the checkboxes by each discipline. SmartSearch does NOT search ALL library databases. Ask a librarian for help if you don't find something useful in SmartSearch because there are other resources we can help you find.