Reference Services

Research Help

Our Reference Department will help you find the information you need, whether it’s for a school report, college term paper, your business, or a topic of personal interest. Librarians are available to assist you in person, over the phone, through email, and via chat.

Research Databases

Need databases for a specific topic? You can do your research online at any time of the day or night and from anywhere. 

Go to our Online Resources page and choose your topic. You can view a full alphabetized list of our resources or you can search by subject.  Some databases require you to enter your library card number, so have your card handy.

Need additional assistance? To learn how contact us directly, visit our Ask a Librarian page or check out our list of instant, on-demand tutorials through Niche Academy.

Database Searching Tips

When searching the databases, it helps to keep these things in mind:

  • Use Keywords: Use major keywords that cover what your topic is about as search terms. Never type an entire thesis statement or question into the search box. For example, don't type "How does photosynthesis create energy in plants?" Instead, type "photosynthesis AND plants AND energy"
  • Use Search Operators: Notice the capitalized "AND" in the search example above? This is a search operator and it will help to link your keywords together for an effective search. Here are the three main search operators:
    • AND : If you use AND between keywords, the database will return item that contain the all specified search terms. For example, "cats AND dogs" will return all items that contain both words.
    • OR :If you use OR between keywords, the database will return all searches that contain at least one of the search terms. For example, "cats OR dogs" will return items that have both cats and dogs as keywords or items that only have the keyword "cat" or only have the keyword "dog."
    • NOT : If you use NOT between keywords, the database will eliminate search results that contain the specified word. For example, "cats NOT dogs" will return items that have "cats" as a keyword, but only if the word "dog" is not in the item.
    • You can learn even more search operators here.
  • Use Filters: After running your initial search, take advantage of the limiters or filters that typically appear on the left or right side of the screen in the search results. You can narrow down your search results by using a variety of limiters/filters including publication date, subject, full text, and many more.

What's the difference between a scholarly journal, academic journal, and something that is peer-reviewed?

  • Scholarly (Peer-reviewed) Journals: Intended for an academic audience, these articles have been reviewed by experts in the field to determine its worthiness for publication.
  • Academic Journals: Intended for a research audience, these articles carry footnotes and full bibliographies. However, they can include content that has not been peer-reviewed such as editorials.
  • Peer-reviewed: Articles that have been reviewed by experts in the field and have been determined worthy of publication.

Other Reference Services: