Research Methods

Search Skills

  • Basic concepts for database searching. Concepts and terminology useful in thinking about search engines. See also the larger glossary.
  • Search operator comparison. A one page table comparing basic search operators in various search engines.
  • Search tips, part 1. Elementary topics like metadata and controlled vocabulary; precision vs recall; how to find better search terms; how to retrieve more or less in a bibliographic database; how to group or combine terms.
  • Search tips, part 2. More on searching a controlled vocabulary database. Single search and synonymy and polysemy. Undisclosed and unexpected automatic processing.
  • Search tips, part 3. Searching natural language document sets. Relevance ranking. The future.
  • Changes in LC subject headings. Including headings for God and the Bible.
  • Assignments and drills. Exercises to help you develop better search skills. Includes some homework assignments for RS101, DM102, BS1004.

Database Manuals and Tutorials

Connecting to Databases

WorldCat (replaces BIBLOS)

We have just begun to write material about dts.on.worldcat.

EBSCO databases

Other Databases/Systems


Research Theory


Research Aids

Here is a potpourri of practical tips and aids to research.