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To find information in other databases. follow these steps to get to a focused search. From the University Libraries home page click one the "research" tab on the top left side of the page (1). Then, on the right side click "Find Articles and Databases" (2). Finally, click on the picture that says "Pop Culture Current Events and Thought" (3). This will bring you to a Database called Academic Search Premier and you can begin your searching. For more help check out the "Find" tab on this guide or a librarian will be happy to help you. 

Tip! You can access more databses from Academic Search Premier by clicking. choose databases just above the search. 


Tip! You can find more Communication databases here:

Quick Start

When you first go to the library homepage to will see a search we call Onesearch. This is a good place to begin your research. 

Tip! Onesearch searches almost everything we have in the library, so make sure to use the options on the side of the screen to refine your search. Clicking peer-reviewed will narrow to only peer-reviewed items.

Tip! Because it searches so much content, Onesearch is a good place to refine your key words. Use Onesearch to narrow your key words before going into a a specific database.

Tip! Please ask for help! If you need help finding something I'm happy to help.


Questions that can help you define you research goals:

  • "What am I trying to say?" 
  • "Who cares and why do they care?"  
  • "How is this research relevant to my internship work?"
  • "How can I learn more about this field of work through my research?" 

Writing down your thoughts and talking to someone else about what you are thinking about can be really helpful. Answering these questions can help you define what information you are looking for and where you might find it.

Tip: You want you research to help define your paper, but it helps to have an idea of what you are trying to say. Example: Water in Nicaragua. Are we talking about urban or rural water, drinking or agricultural, poetency or use?   

Find background information about your topic. This is where Wikipedia and Google are helpful. Your textbook is also a good place to find background infromation. The more you read the easier it will be to find the right information. Looking up background information can help you form keywords and gives you an idea of what is being talked about in your topic. 

Research is a process. Research is not just about finding things that support your argument, is is also about finding out what is being said about your topic. As you do research you will find more information that might lead to more questions or ideas. Taking the time to explore these will make your paper better.

Tip! If you are having a hard time starting, start with a basic search about your topic and read some of the articles and find something that interest you. Often you will find inspiration about what you are trying to say by reading what others have said. 

Tip! There is not one article that is going to say everything you want it to, but there are going to be some that support what your are trying to say and it may be a small part of the whole article. You may need to synthesis/cite/ borrow from multiple article to support your postion.

Example: I want to talk about the role women have in households in rural Nicaragua, but I can only find an article that talks about birthing at home without the aid of medical care. This article explains that one of the reasons for this is mistreatment by male medical staff and that many women lack the voice to report mistreatment. While this does not directly talk about women's role in the household, it does give us an understanding of how women are treated in society. If women are marginalized by society it is likely that they are marginalized in the household. It also brings ups questions about, where the father is, and maybe rather than talking about the household, I want to talk about women's role and standing in Nicaraguan Society as a whole.


Key Words:

Unlike Google, most academic databases do not search phrases or whole questions very well. When using databases you will need to narrow your research concepts down to search or key words.

Key words are words that describe a concept or idea on their own. For example if we were looking for information about a area of land that has low precipitation and a hot climate the key word work might be dessert. Combining them together helps us to link concepts in our searches.  


Research Concept: I am interested in the way water is used and distributed in rural Nicaragua.  

  • Possible Keywords:  water, agriculture, Nicaragua, farming, industry, water rights, drinking water, rural, pollution
  • Search phrase in a database: Nicaragua AND water AND agriculture AND pollution


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Elizabeth Novosel