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Are you looking for books and can’t find anything worthwhile? Are you looking for journal articles and can’t pin down something relevant? Maybe you’ve found way too much of everything and you are feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes the only thing you know for certain is you need help!

Let’s take 2 scenarios –

“I am not happy with the books and articles I’ve found. What else can I do?”

1.  Investigate – the vocabulary of the field you are searching and identify different terms. Maybe the terms you have in your brain are not the terms that most scholars use in their research. Many of the databases (eg. ERIC, Business Source Premier, WPSA) include thesauri to guide you to other terms; look for a link labeled “Thesaurus” or review the HELP. Don’t forget to use reference tools like encyclopedias for background information; jot down the various concepts. Ask your professor for ideas. Ask your librarian.

2.  Review – the parameters of the database you are searching when looking for journal or newspaper articles. Are you in the right place? Is the subject matter relevant? The database you used for your biology paper may not be the best database for your economics paper. Is the date range covering the date range you need?

3.  Use – the Advanced Search option. Whether you are searching an online catalog for books or databases for articles, there are often 2 modes of searching; Basic & Advanced. Advanced gives you the most control. Familiarize yourself with the HELP features that explain how to limit or expand your search, for example, by language or date. Modify the way your search results are displayed by using the SORT feature.

4.  Expand – the number of sources you search. Search more than one database. Search more than one online catalog. Ask your librarian for additional resources to search.

5.  Master – your search techniques: Boolean Operators, Wild Cards,Truncation, Nesting, Field searching, Use of Subject Headings.

“I’ve tried it on my own and I am stuck!  I hate doing research.  I’m just not good at it!”

Librarians are available to help you find the information that you need.

  • Visit us at the Research Assistance Desk any time that we’re open.
  • Call 864-294-2195 for help.
  • Email a message anytime to
  • Use the library’s chat widget to ask us a question.
  • Send us a text message at 864-214-7172

We’ll help you learn how to use the catalog to find books and use our databases to find articles, e-books and more.