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Database Searching Tips 
Millikin University > Staley Library > Research Assistance

The procedure that follows is intended to help you get started locating information via the library's electronic resources. If you have further questions, please stop in the library and ask for help at the Research Assistance Desk.

Step 1

Locate and read some background information on your topic. If you know little about your topic, start with the library's Reference Collection. The Reference Collection has specialized encyclopedias and other resources that will provide you information and terminology to get started. If you need assistance getting started, be sure and ask a Research Librarian!

Step 2

Write down questions about your topic you need answers to. 

"How has violence on television impacted violence in children?" 

Step 3

From your questions select 2 or 3 main concepts or ideas, these will be your keywords.  Note: these will most often be nouns.
television violence children 

Step 4

Select a database to begin your search. 
Determine the kind of items you need: books, articles, Internet resources. See the Selecting Sources page for assistance. Select an appropriate database. Use the QuickLinks menu on the library's web page to begin.

Step 5

Begin your search. 
Enter your selected database and follow the instructions on the screen. Use the keywords you selected in Step 2 to begin your search..

Step 6

Combine your keywords and use Boolean operators as needed. 
Each database will have some means that will allow you to combine your search terms in various ways.
Remember: and = less, or = more 

Step 7

Examine your best, most applicable records and note the subjects listed. 
Repeat your search, this time using the subject terms that are used to describe those articles that best define your question or topic. Using these terms will provide a more focused search.

Step 8

Mark, or save, the records you wish to keep. 
Most databases will have a box next to the number for each record. This box is where you can "mark" records you wish to save from the larger group of items you have retrieved. Click this box to indicate you wish to save a particular record. Follow the instructions on the screen, often located at the bottom, for further assistance with marking records, or look for a Help option.  

Step 9

Print, e-mail, or save your final results. 
All databases will have options that allow you to print, save, or e-mail the results of your search. Look for buttons on the screen that provide these options. These will reformat the articles for printing. For best results, do NOT use the print option on your browser.

Step 10

Locate your articles Look for an option in the database that will allow you to search for the periodical titles in this library. This might be called Library Holdings or Millikin's Catalog. If a particular periodical is not available in this library you can always request a copy via Interlibrary Loan. Information on the Interlibrary Loan procedure is available via the ILL page

Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL