Finding information requires a lot of skills that you may not be aware that you have or that you are developing. Use this page to learn strategies for HOW to find the most relevant information to meet your needs.
Use the sub-pages to learn WHERE to search for research on your topic or question.
Watch this video from WHMS Library to understand the difference between library databases and search engines.
You can search most library databases using natural language like you would in an internet search. For example, if you wanted information about college athletes making money from their image, you might do a natural language search like college athletes get football endorsements in a search engine.
Not all databases work with natural language. Some databases require Boolean-style searching using the AND, OR, and NOT operators. Review the information below to learn how each operator affects your search results. And get in touch with a librarian if you have questions!
A search for football AND college AND endorsements will get you search results (articles and other documents or pages) that have ALL THREE TERMS. These results will most likely be about college football players who are allowed to make money through endorsements.
A search for College OR university or Endorsements OR Sponsorships will get you search results that have AT LEAST ONE OF THESE TERMS. In these two examples, using both terms with an OR will help you cast a wider net, broadening your results to include more.
Tip: Keep the related terms inside parenthesis or in their own search box for best results
A search for football NOT soccer will EXCLUDE A TERM from your search. In this example, the results will most likely be about American-style football only and not European football or soccer around the globe.
This screen capture shows a complex Boolean search that can also be shown as a phrase search uses the logical Boolean search operators, AND, OR, and NOT: (College OR university) AND (endorsement* OR sponsorship*) AND football NOT soccer NOT rugby [the last bit can also be NOT (Soccer OR rugby)].
In general, scholarly sources:
Articles published in scholarly journals which cover academic and scientific research. Scholarly journals are often referred to as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed" journals. Journals can also be scholarly or academic, but not have the extra level of quality control known as "peer review."
Books are not "peer-reviewed," like articles. Instead, they are written by academic scholars, and edited and published (most often) by academic or university presses, e.g.: Routledge, IGI Global, or Oregon State University Press.
A book review can also indicate if the book is scholarly. Use LibrarySearch to find reviews of books.
When in doubt, ask a librarian!
*LibrarySearch includes search results from many of the UO Libraries database subscriptions.
Databases often have a "Scholarly" or "Peer Review" filter option too. Here's an example from one of our EBSCO databases:
Search in LibrarySearch by title or keyword. Many of our books are "scholarly," but look for the name of the publisher to find an academic press, e.g., "Princeton University Press."
Did you find the information you needed? Will it help you answer your research question? If not, it might be time to reach out to a Subject Librarian for an appointment.
As researchers, we should approach the evidence we find with an open mind. Research should broaden or inform our perspectives, and not confirm our own biases. If your research is just a collection of cherry-picked quotes, you may need to go back to the library catalog (LibrarySearch) or the article databases to gather more information and other perspectives to consider.