Select Your Research TopicDictionariesEncyclopediasThesauri (Thesauruses)
Encore Description & Step-By-StepFind & Use eBooksKeywordsFind Books on the Shelves
Important Definitions & LocationsPeriodical CitationsBasic Steps to Search an Online DatabaseEBSCO DatabaseProQuest DatabaseNewspapers
Full-Text Periodicals E & PrintInterlibrary LoanStudents at Carbon, Donley, & Morgan CentersLocal LibrariesSummary
Additional ResourcesExamples of Almanacs & Statistical ResourcesStatistical Abstract of the United StatesExamples of Government SourcesExamples of Professional OrganizationsFind Audiovisual ResourcesConsult with a Librarian
Important TermsThe Internet: DefinitionFacts & AdviceAccess a Web SiteSearch EnginesThe "Invisible Web"Using Wikipedia
Evaluating a Web SiteVERY IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONSDomain NamesWhat Is Its Purpose?Personal Web PagesWho Is Its Author/Producer/Sponsor?Where Did This Web Site Originate?Helpful Web Site
This is the "Basic Steps to Search an Online Database" page of the "ENG 105 Information Research Skills" guide.
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ENG 105 Information Research Skills  

The College English I Workbook is an ENG 105 assignment worth 15% of your grade. This guide contains information from the workbook's eight chapters, minus the self-check questions.
Last Updated: Apr 30, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Basic Steps to Search an Online Database Print Page

Basic Steps to Search an Online Database



1.        Select the best database:

myLCCC | Check Library Account | Databases A-Z | Database Descriptions or    | START YOUR RESEARCH HERE | Databases A-Z | Database Descriptions

 2.       Determine your search terms (also known as subjects, descriptors, keywords, indexing terms):

  • Select significant words that are likely to appear in your document.
  • Avoid unnecessary words.
  • Write one or more sentences about your topic and then underline the important words.
  • Example: What kind of treatment is used for children who have asthma or bronchitis?






3.       Consider including relevant synonyms or related words in your search:

            asthma     bronchitis     respiratory diseases

 4.       Determine your connectors (a.k.a. logical operators, search operators, boolean terms), if necessary:

            treatment and  children  

                                results will contain:        all documents containing the words treatment and children

           treatment or children

                                results will contain:        all documents containing treatment or children or both terms

       treatment and children and (asthma or bronchitis or respiratory diseases)

                                results will contain:  treatment and children and one or more of: asthma or bronchitis or respiratory disease

 5.       Include special characters (a.k.a. truncation, wild cards), if appropriate:


                                results will contain: child, child's, children, children's


                                results will contain: disease, diseased, diseases

            Some databases use a + or ! instead of a *. Consult their help screens.


 6.       Determine your limiters:

  • Search for your term in the full text of the articles or just their citations and abstracts?
  • Search a particular publication title or format? All publications? Only newspapers?
  • Search all dates, a particular date, or a range of dates?

 7.       Conduct your search:

The database will find all documents (either full-text or just abstracts and citations) in its collection that match the criteria you select.

8.       View your results (a.k.a. citation list, browse screen, document list).   

9.       Evaluate your results:

  • Is the document relevant to your topic? Long enough?  Adequately complex?
  • Is it up-to-date, considering the topic? Information to treat a disease should be recent. A recent publication date might not be important for a report about the Revolutionary War.
  • Is it the correct type of publication? Should it be more scholarly? A primary (first hand account)?
  • Should the point-of-view be balanced or do you need someone's opinion?
  • What do you know about the author's credentials? Can you trust the information to be accurate?
  • Should the terms be revised and the search rerun? Can you substitute a synonym or related term?

10.   Print, save, or email your choices. 



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