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Information Sources: Choosing and Finding the Right Source

Search Options

The following options are available to search for articles and other media such as ebooks, images, and streaming video:

Databases A to Z

Your first option is to search individual databases.  Databases may be multi-disciplinary, covering many topics, or they may be subject specific, covering only one topic.

When should I search a specific database?
  • As you move along in your academic career you will become familiar with various databases within your discipline.  By the time you are a graduate student you should be familiar with these databases. For example, health professions such as Nursing should use CINAHL, MedLine (which is a subset of PubMed), and PsycInfo as well as others (depending on the research topic).
  •  When you are looking for information within a specific discipline, it is often more effective to search a single database that covers that topic. 
  • One of the advantages to searching a subject specific database is that there are more ways to refine and limit your search, producing more focused results.
  • Academic Search Complete is very large database and covers many topics.  Consider searching this database as well as your subject specific database if you are not finding enough results.


  • PowerSearch allows you to search many (almost all) of the library’s resources with a single search query.
  • It searches our major databases plus online content that is available through Open Access.
When should I use PowerSearch?
  • PowerSearch is a “best bet” when you are not sure how to start searching for your topic.
  • PowerSearch is great for when your topic could be covered in multiple subject databases.
  • PowerSearch can be very helpful when you have searched other databases but are still not finding enough information on your topic.
  • Searching PowerSearch will yield a lot of results.  Be aware that it can be challenging to filter through a high volume of results to find the best ones for your research.


  • Searching library databases is different from  Google. It is more like shopping on Amazon or eBay.  Enter your search terms and then refine your results by setting limiters.
  • It takes practice to get really good at searching.  If you run a search and do not get the results you expect, ask the library for help.
  • Note: If you search the databases from off-campus, use your Moodle username and password to login.