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Research Process: Finding Information

Guide to the research process.

Search 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?



Although databases vary, basic search strategies work well in most. Begin searching using the keywords you identified for your topic. Start with the most common terms and see what type of results you get.

Too many results? Try using AND, subject headings, or phrase searching

Too few results?    Try using OR, synonyms, related terms, or truncation (*). The database thesaurus may also offer suggestions for terms.

TIP: Review the abstracts of articles from your query. Use the first good article you find to help you identify additional materials by looking its search terms. Also, look up some of the sources listed in the bibliography.

Refining Your Search

Most databases allow you to refine your search results:

  • Publication date (e.g. last 5 years)
  • Scholarly articles
  • Full-text articles (although you can request an ILL full-text is unavailable)

Database Tutorials

Tutorials on how to use databases are available on the tutorials tab of this guide.

Research Tools

MU Library Catalog: books, journals, media, government documents

MU Research Databases: newspapers, magazine and journal articles, dissertations, literature reviews, conference proceedings, case studies

Web Search Tools: (Google, Google Scholar, Bing, Dogpile) published studies, statistics, government documents, digital collections, images


Use the Monmouth University Library Catalog to find books and other materials in the university collection.

For sources outside of Monmouth that can be requested through InterLibrary Loan, search WorldCat.


Source: YouTube, Yavapai College

Research Databases

The MU Library subscribes to 170+ 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.


If your professor allows you to include websites in your research, you can use a search engine such as Google to search for resources. Websites may contain great information, but it may be difficult to weed out the bad information from the good. The first items on your results are the most popular sites, but they may not be the best ones for your project

Keep in mind that you will need to evaluate the validity of material found on websites and it is a good idea to verify the information from a second source.

TIP: The most reliable information can be found on .edu and .gov websites.

Web Search

Searching Google Scholar will identify more academic sources than a basic Google Web search.

Google Scholar Search