Skip to main content

Writing: Database Resources

Common Database Resources

Research Tips

State Your Topic

  • As a question
  • Or, as a statement

Through research, you will answer your question/prove your statement.

Get Background Information

What's the Plan?

What do you already know about your topic?

Making a list will help you map out what you already know, and may also aid you in figuring out where your weak points are.

What you need to find out? 

This probably became quite clear as you made the list in bullet point one. Where are the holes in your argument? What information are you lacking? What could strengthen your argument?

Brainstorm Keywords

  • Diagram the words related to your topic
    • Need help visualizing words and the relationships between them? Here are some options: look into Visuwords; consult a dictionary or thesaurus; check out the subject headings used in scholarly articles about theater and branch out from there.

Construct Your Search

Boolean Operators

Use with the library catalog and research databases. They also work with search engines.

Operator Changes Your Search Results Example
AND narrows search actors AND theater AND criticism
OR expands search theater OR theatre
NOT narrows search criticism NOT review
* expands search perform* finds perform, performance, performer, performers...

Too many results?

Narrow your search. Use more specific terms to describe what you are looking for:
Use the specific term heart disease, instead of the general term health

Add more terms to your search using AND:

  • actors AND theater AND criticism

Tells the database that you only want items that contain ALL of the terms

Exclude words from your search using NOT:

  • criticism NOT performance

Tells the database that you want everything that contains the words heart disease and diet but you don't want anything that contains the word cookbook

Too few results?

Broaden your search. Use less specific terms to describe what you are looking for

Search for synonyms and related terms using OR:

  • theater OR theatre

Bad results?

Think of different words to describe your topic:

  • theatre, performance, criticism, playwright

Keep Organized

  • Save copies of resources on your computer, flashdrive, a folder in your email, cloud account (GoogleDrive/iCloud/etc.) or database account
  • Keep tract of places you already searched and keywords you tried
  • Use the list of things you need to find out:
    • Cross off things as you find them
    • Concentrate on gaps you need to fill
  • Or maybe look into getting a citation/reference manager like Mendeley, Zotero, EndNote or any number of others
Loading ...

General Interest Vs. Scholarly


Area General Scholarly/Academic
  • Shorter length
  • Often have pictures and advertisements
  • Longer in length
  • Little or no advertising
  • May include: abstract, explanation of method; graphs, statistics, charts, analysis and conclusion
Peer Review
  • Not evaluated by experts in the field
  • Evaluated by other experts in the field
  • Called peer-reviewed, scholarly, or refereed journals
  • Usually published daily, weekly, or monthly
  • Usually published monthly or quarterly 
Found In...

Library Hours



Monday 8:00AM - 6:00PM
Tuesday 8:00AM - 6:00PM
Wednesday 8:00AM - 6:00PM
Thursday 8:00AM - 6:00PM
Friday 8:00AM - Noon
Saturday & Sunday CLOSED
phone: (541)506-6081

Ask-A-Librarian 24/7