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ENGL 1101 - Shelnutt

How Do I Find Sources?

Your research question will largely determine the kinds of sources you need and how you search for them.

This page includes guidance on several aspects of finding sources:

  • General Strategies
  • Keyword Searching

  • Video Tutorials:
    • Finding Articles through GALILEO Databases
    • Finding & Choosing Research Databases

General Strategies

Locating a specific article:

Creating a search strategy: video tutorialsearch strategy worksheet (Hunter College)

Trouble finding sources on your topic? This video may help you rethink your search.

Too many or too few results? Try these search tips.

Keyword Searching

Keywords are search terms that best express the essense of your topic. They are crucial to an effective search, especially in library databases. Here are some tips for identifying keywords:

1. Be concise: Begin with only 2-3 essential terms, and avoid long phrases. The more terms you enter the fewer results you’ll get. (For example, a search for environmental consequences of fracking may yield 0 results, while fracking environment yields over 2,000.)

2. Use synonyms and related terms: If your first term doesn’t work, try a synonym. You may have to try out several related search terms to find the types of resources you're looking for.  (Example: environment INSTEAD OF environmental consequences)

3. Background research: To identify useful keywords, do some quick background research. Note terms that are often used to discuss the topic. (Reference sources like Wikipedia or the library databases Credo Reference and Oxford Reference Online offer overviews of many topics. Of course, remember to evaluate information in Wikipedia with particular care since almost anyone can edit it.)

4. Database search results: Do a quick database search and view the search results page to identify relevant terms.

  • Titles and article abstracts (summaries) often include helpful terms. 
  • “Subject” terms are used in library databases describe what a source is about. Look in a database for relevant subject terms - they can help you locate more records on the topic. 

Finding Articles through GALILEO Databases

Looking for scholarly articles from journals? Search UWG Databases

Finding & Choosing Research Databases

Looking for scholarly articles but not sure which library database to use?