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WRIT 110 College Writing: Search Databases & Web

Intro to Library Databases

In addition to searching in Primo, the GFU Libraries provide access to thousands of articles from journals, trade journals, newspaper articles and sometimes individual book chapters via the databases, which you can locate from several places on the library home page:

Not sure why you would choose searching in a database over your favorite search engine? Check out the video below.

Library Database vs. Search Engine?

What's the difference between searching in a library database vs. a search engine like Google? Here's a quick explanation by Wellington Medical and Health Sciences Library.

Statistical Sources

Statista Research tool providing access to quantitative data, statistics and related information.  Tons of great graphs, charts and infographics.

Government Websites Index of Government Agencies and Departments from A-Z

Nongovernmental Organizations Directory of International non-governmental organizations from the WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources

The Pew Research Center A nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take positions on policy issues

Think Tanks Directory of Think Tanks maintained at the John F. Kennedy School of Government

How do you create a search?

Computers use mathematical logic to compute - not think. This is important to remember when creating a string of keywords to search in library databases. You aren't asking the database a question. You need to type in a series of keywords connected by operators (AND, OR) to retrieve results relevant to your topic. You may have to revise your initial search to get better results, and that's okay! If you get stuck, don't hesitate to talk to a librarian!


Broaden a Search

  • Prayer OR Healing (Example: Use the boolean operator OR to request results with either term.)
  • Prayer OR Heal* (Example: Use an * on the end of a word root to request other word forms.  This is called truncation and will populate your results with words that have up to 5 letters after the root.)

Narrow a Search

  • Prayer AND Healing (Example: Use the boolean operator AND to request results containing both terms.)
  • (Prayer AND Healing) AND (Christian OR Christianity)  (Example:  Nesting terms inside parenthesis indicates to the database how to treat your search terms.  Just like in math equations, the parentheses direct the database to search the terms in parentheses first.)
  • "alternative medicine" (Example: Use quotes to search as a phrase)
  • "alternative medicine" w8 prayer (Example: Proximity operators locate one word within a certain distance of another. The symbols generally used in this type of search are w and n. The w represents the word "with(in)" and the n represents the word "near." This type of search is not available in all databases.)

Ebsco Articles Search

From the Library Homepage construct a federated search within the EBSCO databases.
  • Click on the Ebsco Articles link & enter your keyword(s) in the search box.
  • Limit your results using facets & evaluate the results for relevancy to your project.
Search Terms: 

Consider a Research Log

ProTip: To keep track of where you've searched, the terms & limiters used, you might try a research log!

Finding Web Resources

Search Engines: Retrieve results gathered by mathematical algorithm – consumer search engine – consumer search engine – academic discipline search engine – meta search engine – google, yahoo, ask, and bing – computational search engine
Directories: Retrieve results gathered by humans – Open Directory Project – run by Netscape – Organized and maintained by librarians – Yahoo Directory – run by Yahoo