Research Process

Guide to the research process.

Searching for Information

Once you have determined the topic for your project and key concepts, you will need to search for information. Sources can include: books, journals, newspapers, dissertations, websites, and audio or video recordings.

Questions to Consider: Searching

  • What kinds of resources may help?
  • Where do I find them?
  • How do I know the information is valid?

Research Guides

Research Databases

The MU Library subscribes to 200+ multi-disciplinary (Academic Search Complete, Proquest Research Library, CQ Researcher) and subject-specific (CINAHL, PsycINFO) databases.

TIP: If you are not sure which research database to search for information on your topic, review our research guides for discipline or class to get you started.

Find Books and Videos at the MU Library

Search All Library Resources at Once: HawkFind

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Tips for Finding Articles

Combine your keywords using "Advanced Search." Put each concept into its own search box. See this handout for HawkFind instructions.

Use quotation marks when searching for specific phrases.

If you're not getting back enough results, add synonyms or related terms to each box using “OR.”If you can’t think of additional keywords, do a general Google search for your term or use the database's thesaurus or index to find related terms. 

If you're getting back too many results, try the following:

  • Add an additional concept to your search. Consider focusing on a particular population or more specific aspect of your original research question.

  • Try searching for your most important terms in the abstract field. Do this by changing the field name to "abstract" next to your search terms.

  • Use subject terms to search for the most relevant results.

If you aren't finding good results with HawkFind, switch to a subject-specific database.

Once you find a useful article, find additional articles by looking at the references. You can also enter the article title into Google Scholar to find articles that have cited your original article. See this handout for instructions. If you use Google Scholar, remember to check for peer-review using Ulrichsweb.

If you need help, contact a librarian.