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Research help

This guide will help you at all stages of the research process, from choosing a topic to citing your sources.

Search strategy overview - CCC Library catalog

CCC Library's catalog is a free, credible, library alternative to Google. Find almost everything CCC Library has to offer to you - items in CCC Library, Summit Libraries, and most article databases. Then refine your search results to identify the best resources.

  1. Enter your search terms.
    Screebshot of a basic search - "hip hop" AND politics.
  2. Select Search.
  3. Select Sign in and log in using your myClackamas email and password.
    CCC Library users sign in for request options (and to save items to your folder)
  4. Refine your results by Availability (note: only apply one filter at a time. Adding 2 or more at once will generate results lists that are inaccurate):
    Primo Availability refining tool.
    • Peer-reviewed - online articles published in peer-reviewed journals
    • Print Materials - limit to print books in our collection
    • Full Text Online - resources you can access online
  5. Refine your results by Resource Type:
    Primo Resource Type refining tool.
    • Types of resources include newspaper articles, magazine articles, peer-reviewed journal articles, print books, eBooks, streaming videos, book reviews, audio files, DVDs, reference entries (dictionaries and encyclopedias), and more.
    • Think about what type of resource your instructor expects you to use on your assignment. Limit your results to just those acceptable types. 
  6. Access the full text of each resource.
    Search results with full-text access options and citation, email, and folder options
  7. Select the title of a resource to learn more about it.
    Hyperlinked CCC Library catalog resource title
    • The resource's record appears, which tells you more about the item and how to access the full text. See an example.

Contact a CCC librarian if you have any questions!

Search strategy overview - databases

Use these tipsWork smarter, not harder. when you search in CCC Library databases. Your search results will be more focused and relevant to your topic!

  1. Use quotation marks around phrases and search terms to search for the words in the exact order you would like, instead of separately.
    Basic search, "emotional support animals"
  2. Use different search boxes for each different idea that makes up your overall topic.
    Advanced search

 

Too Many Results? Too Few Results?
  1. Add in additional search terms.
  2. Limit to peer-reviewed journals.
  3. Limit by date.
  4. Limit by subject.
  5. Limit to items with full-text availability.
  6. Change the search box dropdown menu to "Abstract" or "Subject."
  1. Verify that you spelled everything correctly.
  2. Erase unnecessary search terms.
  3. Try different search terms.
  4. Use the Boolean operator OR between search terms.
  5. Remove any limits you may have added to an earlier search.
  6. Change the search box dropdown menu to "All Text" or "Entire Document."

Need help with too many or too few results? Call, email, chat with, or stop by and see a librarian!

Create better database searches with AND, OR, and NOT

Use these three powerful little words - called Boolean operators - to create better searches.

 

What are Boolean operators?

  

Boolean operators are words that we use to link two or more keywords while searching. Linking your keywords with the words AND, OR, and NOT help to expand or narrow the results you get while searching. 

 

AND

  • AND tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you are requiring both terms to be in your results. Linking two keywords with the word ANDensures that all of your search results have keyword #1 AND keyword #2.
  • Use this Boolean operator when you are comparing, contrasting, or otherwise relating two keywords!
  • Example: "peanut butter" AND jelly 
    • Will only show me results that contain both peanut butter AND jelly 

 

OR

  • OR tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you are okay with either keyword (or both keywords) appearing in your search results. Linking two keywords with the word OR ensure that all results with have either keyword #1 OR keyword #2 OR both.
  • Use this operator to find information about any of your keywords when you do not need one resource to contain every keyword you search.
  • Example: "peanut butter" OR jelly
    • Will return results that include peanut butter, jelly, and peanut butter and jelly

 

NOT

  • NOT tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you only want results containing one keyword, but NOT the other. Linking two keywords with the word NOT will only return results containing keyword #1 but NOT keyword #2.
  • Use this Boolean operator when you have noticed that searching for keyword #1 also returns results about keyword #2, but that is not what you are looking for.
  • Example: "peanut butter" NOT jelly
    • Will return results that contain peanut butter, but NOT results that contain jelly.

 

 

Three venn diagrams. Peanut butter and jelly. Peanut butter or jelly. Peanut butter not jelly.

Image credit: Slippery Rock University

Google like a librarian

We all use it - now let's learn to use it better!

  1. Use quotation marks around your search terms to search for the words in the exact order you would like, instead of separately.
    Google - "quotation marks"
  2. Use intitle: to retrieve webpages with your keywords in the title of the webpage.
    Google - intitle: search
  3. Use site:. to retrieve webpages from URLs in the domain (.gov, .edu, .org) you specify.  
    Google - site:. search
  4. Use - (a hyphen or minus sign) in front of words to exclude them from your search results.
    Google - NOT
  5. Use OR in between words to have either or both of the words included in your search results. OR must be capitalized. This is a good way to search for synonyms.
    Google - OR
    In the above example, Google will find results that include (election AND fraud) and (voter AND fraud).
  6. Use filetype: to retrieve specific types of files (instead of html webpages). Works for finding most file types.
    filetype: search
  7. Use several strategies at once for very specific results.
    Google - all of the above search strategies!

What are you searching?

Different search scopes in CCC Library's catalog.CCC Library has a variety of databases and search tools that offer you free, high-quality, academic information. Start here. Or try Google, then come back here when you get stuck. ;-)

  • CCC Library Catalog
    • CCC Library: books, eBooks, videos, and other items at CCC Library
    • CCC + Summit: books, eBooks, videos, and other items available at CCC Library and 38 Summit libraries
    • CCC + Summit + Articles: books, eBooks, videos, and other items at CCC Library and 38 Summit libraries, and a sizable portion of CCC Library's article databases
  • Databases A-Z list
    • articles, eBooks, streaming videos from CCC Library's individual databases, including EBSCO
  • Subject Guides
    • lists of subject-specific databases that are unique to your topic (e.g., Nursing)

Database guides

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Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.