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FYE 112 | Spring 2024

Determine your information need, select keywords, choose a database, evaluate information.

Tools for Finding Databases

Most of the information you need will be found in databases.  LVC's A - Z Database List tools can help you narrow your database choices.  Focus your choices by subject and by the type of information you need, using the pull-downs.

Limit your database search by choosing a specific subject.  Recognize, too, that sometimes your topic will straddle several subject areas (for example, gender wage gap could fall within business and also the sociology).  If this occurs, you can select both subjects, since it's always best to get multiple points of views.


From the A to Z list of databases, focus your search by using the Types filter.  The type filter can be invaluable; it will focus upon databases that contain peer-reviewed articles, scholarly journal articles, case law, magazine articles, books, etc. It is also possible to focus your database search by both the subject AND type!  


We have research guides for almost every major/department on campus.  Each guide has a page linking to the major databases in that field, often with advice on the best databases.

Start Searching

Most databases will have several search boxes. If this is the case, each "different piece" of your topic should be entered into its own search box. Leave the AND on the left alone.  If you do have synonyms, keep them on the same line and connect them with OR.

Here is what a well-constructed search should look like:


Many databases use boolean operators.  Boolean operators connect your search words.  There are three of them. 


Both cat AND dog must appear in the results.

Narrows the search.

Results will contain the words cat OR dog (OR both OR neither). Broadens the search.

Results will contain cat but NOT dog. Narrows the search.

When searching within databases,  it's extremely important that you connect your synonyms within the search boxes with ORs.  Do not use the OR from the pull down on the left; this'll make a huge mess of your search.  Only use AND, NOT from the left pull-down.   Keeping the ORs within the search boxes will ensure that your boolean operators are executed in the proper order.