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*Get Started with Research*

Easy to follow guide on essential steps of the research process: Choosing and refining a topic, creating effective search strategies, finding books and articles, evaluating information and more!

Finding the right database

To find articles at the library, you need to use databases.  Databases are organized collections of resources (articles, ebooks, music, videos, images, datasets, etc.) that are structured to make the information accessible to users.  Databases can be interdisciplinary, containing resources on many subjects and fields of study, or they can be subject-specific with resources that are especially useful for particular disciplines.  

To access the library databases available at McKillop Library, see the A-Z Databases list for an alphabetical listing of over 140 databases available to the Salve community.  

To view databases by subject, simply navigate to the "All Subjects" pull-menu.  See below.


A-Z Databases list screenshot

Basic and Advanced Searching in the Databases

Basic Searching

The most basic way to begin searching for articles is to place your search statement (see Creating Search Statements) in the first box.  If you were interested in exploring how attitudes towards tattoos have evolved in America, you could start out by search "tattoo AND America." 

basic search in Academic Search Complete example

Advanced Searching

In addition to basic searching, you can also use advanced search features to create a more precise search.  You can use different Boolean operators to build your search string.  You can also utilize the "Select a Field" option to search by a range of fields including author, title, and journal name.

advanced search in databases screenshot



*Note: All pictured examples of database searching on this page are from Academic Search Complete, an interdisciplinary database that is managed by EBSCOhost.  Other databases will likely have similar features, but they will look a little different.

Finding Relevant Subject Terms

Like the library catalog, many databases will provide subject terms for specific resources.  These may be referred to under different terminology, including subjects, subject thesaurus terms, or thesaurus terms.  Subject terms are standardized words or phrases that describe the main idea of the source you are looking at.  These terms are hyperlinked in databases, so you can select them to have the database generate a new result list with other resources that share the same subject term.  Subject terms will vary from one database to another.  Likewise, they will probably be different from the subject terms in the library catalog.  As with your keywords, you should note any especially helpful subject terms as you conduct your research (as well as which database or search tool you found them in!).  

articles subject terms screenshot

Search for articles

Find Articles in Select Ebscohost Databases...

Google Scholar: Linking Salve's Resources to Your Google Scholar Account

Google Scholar is a great tool for certain type of research questions that require journal articles. If you have a Google account you have a Google Scholar account. You can link this account to Salve's library to have your Google Scholar results directly link to the full-text of articles Salve subscribes to.


1. Sign into your Google account

2. Go to Google Scholar settings:

3. Select “library links,” enter “Salve Regina” check “Salve Regina University Library – Find @ Salve,” and click Save.

4. Go to  and search your article title.

5. In the results, you'll see a "Find @ Salve" link to the right of the article. 

Google Scholar does not include all of Salve’s article subscriptions in its results. If you don’t find your article there, search using the library’s journals button.