The CityU Library and Learning Resource Center’s collection is 98% online! You need your username and password to log in to the library’s online resources.
From the search box on our library’s home page, you can search multiple online databases, e-books, and other resources. Use the many limiters, such as full-text, content type, publication date, subject area, and more to find what you need.
If you have been searching for information for 15-20 minutes, and you have not had success, contact us through Ask a Librarian.
Okay, so you know you want to start searching the library, but how do you decide which keywords to use? What if you don't have a clear idea of your topic yet?
It's okay if you don't have a clear understanding of your topic when you first start searching. The below video explains how you can use research to help you choose your topic, and to help you further explore the research surrounding an area of study. Keep in mind that research involves a lot of reading and flexibility. So, it is okay if your topic adapts as you learn more about a particular subject.
The following tabs will overview some specifics and some neat tips on searching within the library.
If you want more information on how to approach research from a place of inquiry, we recommend taking a look at the following guide:
Start with a topic and determine the topic’s major concepts. These concepts are your keywords, which are very important in getting relevant results.
Enter your keywords into the search box on our home page.
Example: What affects the price of oil? (topic) = Oil (keyword) + supply and demand (keywords) + OPEC (keyword)
Put names and phrases in quotation marks in order to search for those words side-by-side (phrase searching).
For example: “Erik Erikson” or “psychosocial development theory.” Parentheses also work for this purpose in many databases: eg. (Erik Erikson)
The three basic boolean operators are: AND, OR, and NOT. These are logic commands that can be used in almost every search engine, database, or online catalogue. They connect your search words together to either narrow or broaden your set of results. Boolean operators help to focus your search, connecting various pieces of information so that you can find exactly what you are looking for.
Use AND in a search to:
Example: education AND leadership
Use OR in a search to:
Example 1: leadership OR management
Example 2: education AND (leadership OR management)
Using OR can result in a very large set of results! OR will bring more search results than AND. A good way to remember this is "OR brings you MORE!"
Use NOT in a search to:
Example: education NOT elementary
Be aware of the logical order in which words are connected when using Boolean operators:
Using multiple limits will help you narrow your search.
NOTE: If you get no results or only a few results, use fewer keywords and fewer limiters. The more keywords you put into your search, the fewer results you will get, and the fewer keywords you put into your search, the more results you will get.
Truncation, also called stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings. To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol (*) at the end. The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.
Truncation symbols may vary by database; common symbols include: *, !, ?, or #
Similar to truncation, wildcards substitute a symbol for one letter of a word. This is useful if a word is spelled in different ways, but still has the same meaning.
Librarians love online searching, because there are open-access studies, reports, data and other materials available from research groups and universities. However, you need to be very selective about what you use when you search online. Make sure the sources you find online meet a high standard for quality and academic writing before citing them in your assignments.
Look for content or documents that clearly have authors or are published by experts or organizations that share information about their purpose. Always read the “About Us” section. Examples of institutions producing high-quality reports/research:
Look for content or documents that cite sources and offer in-depth analysis of an issue. For example:
Use a variety of criteria to determine credibility and relevance. For more information, see our Research Guide:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.