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EMPOWER: Starting Your Research: Finding Sources

How to Find Information Sources

To find any useful piece of information, you need a way to find something. These search tools are now mostly electronic. Search tools may be also be called electronic indexes, databases, or search engines. A search box is included, which is used to find the sources (i.e. books, articles, or websites) that are indexed.

Here is an example of a typical search box:

Learn more about the different types of databases below.

Journal Article Databases

EBSCODatabases include the citations of articles in magazines, journals and newspapers.

Some periodical databases contain abstracts or brief summaries of the articles. Many contain the full text (entire content) of articles as they originally appeared in the periodical.

Periodical databases, purchased by Edgewood College, are accessible from the library's website under Research Guides.

Use a Periodical Database...

  • when you want to find article on your topic in magazines, journal, or newspapers.

Examples of Periodical Databases:

  • Academic Search Complete (a general periodical database).
  • Business Source Complete (a business periodical database).
  • PsycINFO (a psychology periodical database).

Edgewood College Library Catalog

library logoThe Library Catalog identifies each item in the library and will point you to its location with call numbers, floor guide, and check out status. The catalog includes books, journals, magazines, newspapers, videos, music, and more. It also links ebooks, and other online resources that the library buys. (More on using the library catalog in another EMPOWER tutorial.)

You can also use the catalog to access your library account where you can view materials you have checked out, renew materials you have checked out, and view any fines you may have.

However, you won't find journal or magazine articles by topic in the catalog! You'll need to use a periodical database to locate articles by topic.

Use the catalog...

  • to find out what books, journals, and media the library owns on your topic.
  • to find where a specific item is located in the library.
  • to find summaries of research to support an argument.
  • to find bibliographies that point to other relevant research.

Web Search Engines

search engine logosThe World Wide Web is easily accessible through a search engine. Websites may also be found by typing in the URL or address in the address bar.

Search engines allow you to browse web sites that match the criteria of your search. The list of results are often called hits. Search engines use a variety of criteria to produce a list. The list may be produced based on paid inclusion, popularity, or relevancy based on the location of the search terms in the website

Search engines may specialize in specific types of websites, such as videos (Blinkx) or blogs (Technorati).

Use a search engine...

  • to find a list of web sites that match your criteria.

Examples of search engines: