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Student Research Guide

Select the right tools to find the information you need.

There are many different search tools available through the PPCC Libraries as well as some helpful internet tools. Selecting the right tool can make all the difference in your research. Use this chart to help you understand when you might use one source for information over another. The best place to find academic sources is through our library databases.


Library Catalog Library Databases Research Guides Internet Google Scholar Other Libraries



  • I want to find books in the PPCC Libraries
  • I want to find articles in magazines or scholarly/academic journals
  • I want to use specific keywords for my search
  • I want highly relevant information
  • I want some help deciding which sources I should use and am looking for one spot that has suggestions specific to my class or assignment
  • I have a fact or two that I need to verify 
  • I don't need scholarly information; just some general information will do
  • I need information about an event that happened this morning 
  • I need a broad, general overview of a topic. 
  • I've searched the library databases, but want to see if there's anything else that has been published on my topic
  • I haven't found enough information on my topic and want to see if there are other scholarly/academic sources I can use 
  • PPCC libraries don't have the book or article I need. I'm willing to go to another local college or have enough time to request an item through interlibrary loan (ILL)


•  PPCC Libraries Catalog

Use this to find books at either library location as well as eBooks. 

•  PPCC Libraries Databases

Use the library databases to search for articles on your specific subject.

•  Research Guides

Use the guides put together by librarians to help you find the best resources for your subject or assignment.

•  Internet

If you just need a quick fact, a basic overview of a subject or need information on an event that happened this morning, this is your best choice.

•  Google Scholar

When you've already found information in the databases, but need more or just want to see if there's anything else available, try Google Scholar to find articles and sometimes books. 

•  Other Libraries

Visit UCCS or Colorado College to use their print collection and databases. If you need something from out of town contact the PPCC Libraries to request an item through interlibrary loan (ILL).


Pikes Peak State College Libraries
Information ∞ Inquiry ∞ Learning