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Basic research skills guide for AAA109.

How to Search

The key to searching the databases is using KEYWORDS. Searching the databases is different than searching the internet. You want to find words, not phrases, that describe your topic. For example, if you are studying the Dust Bowl and the migration west to California you could use the History Reference Center database and use the search terms: Dust Bowl in the first search box and California in the second. Typically you want to put the broadest term in first and then use the other boxes for terms to narrow your search. 

Take a look at the search terms used in the articles you find. Sometimes you may have to use a different word than the ones you have chosen. Instead of men and women, you might try gender. Think about different words that mean the same thing as the search terms you have chosen.


Where to Search

When doing a project or research paper, using a variety of sources helps create a more interesting result. Different topics may require the use of different sources, but in general, you should use: 

  • books
  • reference books--encyclopedias and dictionaries
  • scholarly journals
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • government documents
  • statistical sources

You can find many of these types of sources in the PPCC Libraries collection. A search in the catalog will find books. Use our databases to find journal, newspaper and magazine articles. 

The sources you find through the PPCC Libraries are reputable, reliable sources. 

Sources found in our databases are NOT internet sources. When your instructor says, "don't use the internet," skip Google and Wikipedia and use the libraries' databases and books. 

Pikes Peak Community College Libraries
Information ∞ Inquiry ∞ Learning