Our databases work much in the same way that Google does. You type your keywords in the search box and the database searches for items that contain your words.
These keywords are very important. Having good keywords can save you a lot of time and frustration. It is not a good idea to type your research question or paper title into the search box. Putting too many keywords in the box will hamper your success.
Think about your topic and pull out the main concepts. Use only these concepts to search for information.
For example, take the following thesis statement from the UNC Writing Center.
Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.
To find information on this topic you should begin with the search terms: Huckleberry Finn and democratic ideals, Huckleberry Finn and society, or Huckleberry Fin and nature.
Begin with a basic search and use your results to find other search terms to refine your search.
You could expand your search using other aspects of the topic, such as Democratic ideals and nineteenth century, Mark Twain and societal norms, or Nature and culture and nineteenth century.
Try our new Snap Search to look for resources on your topic. Here, you will find books, academic journals, videos, newspapers, magazines, and more from most of our databases. In some cases, you might need to search individual databases but most often this will give you what you need.
Use the EDS limiters to narrow down your results by selecting source types, subjects, date ranges and more. These limiters will be located on the left side of your results.
You can also use the Advanced Search to refine your search results.
The TX All Text option will give you more results by searching the full-text of the document for your search terms. Use caution with the other options in this list, they may not do what you think they should. For most searches, it's best not to select an option. Use the TX option when you don't get any or many results.
Begin your search using some of our book sources. These databases contain articles and chapters from books that cover literary topics.
Continue your research using our article databases where you can find more in-depth and specific information on titles, authors, and themes.
Also, try some of our general databases for more information on your topic. These databases contain some different sources than those listed above that can be useful. Most of these have an option to narrow your results to scholarly or peer-reviewed articles.