Where and How to Get Info

Keywords and Boolean Operators

Watch the following two videos (blue one first, then the purple one):

1. Understand how keywords and boolean operators help me with searching.

2. Become familiar with different databases.

Instructions at the bottom of the page will guide you through a few steps to help you find sources. Perform the searches and copy your search terms into the text boxes at the bottom of the page. 

Database Guide

There are a lot of places out there to find information. Search engines do a good job at grappling with everything out in the world wide web, but that’s a lot of stuff to filter through.

Databases can help you search in a more pointed environment. It’s like walking into a shoe store instead of walking into an entire mall. You’ll find some new kicks quicker. 👟 In this section, you can learn about specific resources you have access to and why you would want to use each one.

*Use the database guide below to help you complete the assignment mentioned at the bottom of the page. 

Source Mining

One of the best ways to learn while researching is to source mine. Information is always in conversation with other information. Because articles cite their sources and references, it’s easier for us to follow the conversation and find more sources. If you’re reading an article, try scrolling to the bottom and looking at the references. There, you can find relevant articles related to your area of interest! Looking at the connections between sources can help you see what different people think of others’ thoughts.

Google Scholar even has a handy “Cited by” function that lets you see how many times an article has been cited by other people. A bigger number can–but does not always–mean that the article has been pretty influential. Clicking on the “Cited by” number will also pull up the articles that use the source you’re looking at! This is a great way to learn more about what people are saying about a certain topic. 


Use keywords and boolean operators to find 2+ helpful resources in the Academic Search Ultimate database. Follow these steps:

1. Perform your first search using just one keyword related to your topic. Look at the number of results and read some of the article titles. Do they seem like they will be helpful?

2. For your second search, add a boolean operator and another keyword. Notice how the results change. (Copy what you typed in the search bar into the text box down below.)

3. Next, change either a keyword, a boolean operator, or both. (Also copy this search and put it into the text box below.) Keep adjusting things until you find 2 sources you can use to learn more about your research topic.