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Getting Started With Research

A photograph of a person typing on a laptopPhoto Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District's photostream via Flickr




A database is a collection of information. In a library, a database is full of research like articles, reports, and more. Every database is different, with information coming in different formats (articles, electronic books, videos) or about different subjects (education, psychology, medicine). Library Services subscribes to about 130 databases, each with its own purpose and characteristics.

While each database is different, most of them work in very similar ways. They include multiple boxes where you can type in keywords, ways to focus how you're looking for those keywords, and ways to narrow down your search by date, information type, and more. A good example of this is Academic Search Complete, which contains information on a little of different types of topics.

An exception to this rule is Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Rather than using keywords to find information, Opposing Viewpoints provides a list of topics that you can browse. This is a good place to start your searching, especially if you're not very familiar with your topic. It can give you a lot of background information that you can then use in Academic Search Premier or other databases.

Below are two exercises to help you get more acquainted with Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Academic Search Premier.