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Research Tips and Tricks

This Tips and Tricks research guide provides information on how to perform a search, ranging from how to choose what type of search to make, how to string key words together, and what to do with texts once you've found them.

Why use a database?

Databases provide resources (primarily articles, but not always) often relating to a specific discipline. Databases like Business Source Premier provide sources for business research. ERIC and Education Source house resources for education. 

Databases narrow the resources provided by the general Library Search from the library homepage. Instead of facing 1,046 results for "sandhill crane" from the Library Search, the database Natural Science Collection provides a more manageable 845 results. The database also filters out things like children's books and government documents about sandhill cranes, focusing instead on the biological aspects of the topic. 

Best Bets: Databases for a Starting Point

Because databases vary by subject, this guide can only point toward a few that tend to work for many or most disciplines. Find the databases alphabetically on UNK's website here. Note that you can also narrow the databases by subject and/or use subject research guides to help sift through databases and find those specific to your discipline. 

Academic Search Premier

This database provides information on multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary topics. Whether your topic is nailed down or you're still exploring, Academic Search Premier can provide excellent resources. 

Academic OneFile

This database doesn't only help researchers find/narrow topics; it also provides resources for those topics.


This database focuses on the arts and sciences. Keep in mind that there is a "Moving Wall Delay" in articles appearing on JSTOR that lasts up to 10 years from article publication to its inclusion on JSTOR; 3 to 5 years is the average delay.