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Advanced Research & Doctoral Dissertation

Starting Out With Keyword Searches

When you are first starting out your research, you'll want to use keyword searches in an academic database, which you can think of as unknown item searching, because we don't know what we're looking for precisely - we just know what it should be about.  However, keyword searches can be ineffective and frustrating.  So, once you have found one or two good research articles, it will be time to transition your search strategy to searching for known items using the article bibliography and Google Scholar - we'll talk about that more in a bit.

Go through the tabs in order to learn: 

  1. | What is a database? 
  2. | Where do databases live? 
  3. | How do I find articles using keywords? 


So, what is a database?

In the context of a library, a database is usually a collection of citations, abstracts, and articles provided by the library. Databases are expensive, but the subscriptions the library purchases and manages give University of Lynchburg students free access to many resources. Watch the video below by the Yavapai College Library to learn more about library databases!

Yavapai College Library. (2011). What Are Databases and Why You Need Them [Video]. Retrieved from

Ok, now that you know what a database is, you need to know where our databases live, and to use them to find peer-reviewed articles. Please Note:There are two videos in the playlist.  The second video demonstrates using Academic Search Complete, however, the interface will work exactly the same for all EBSCO databases, and very similarly to other academic databases such as JSTOR and ProQuest. 

Watch the playlist below to learn more. 

If you are interested in exploring one of our many other databases, here are a few tip sheets to get you started.