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Burris 9th Grade English: Research Paper

Resources to consult for your long-term research project

Searching for Articles in Six Steps

Finding Articles in Library Databases : in 6 Steps

Use this process to find scholarly (peer-reviewed, academic) and popular (newspapers, magazine) articles in library databases.

  1. Define your research question or topic
  2. Break it down - Pick out the core concepts (usually noun and noun phrases).
  3. Identify 1-2 synonyms for each core concept. 
  4. Combine your keywords with AND; synonyms with OR.
  5. Enter your search phrase in a relevant database. 
  6. Look at your results and modify your search if necessary.
  • If you get thousands of results, your search is too broad.
  • If you only get a few results, your search is too narrow.
  • Use relevant results to help you identify other keywords.
  • Look at the bibliographies or relevant articles to find other relevant articles.
  • If you don't get any relevant hits, brainstorm different keywords.

Databases to Try




These databases allow you to search for articles published in chosen magazines, journals, and newspapers, as well as some encyclopedias.

[Note: These are all paid for by the Indiana State Library and are available to anyone living in Indiana.]

Recommended: ‚Äč

Designed specifically for high school libraries, contains full text for 500 popular magazines. Full text is also available for over 85,000 biographies and over 80,000 primary source documents. Also contains nearly 400 reference books (including the Columbia Encyclopedia and the CIA World Fact Book); an Image Collection of nearly 600,000 photos, maps and flags, color PDFs; and expanded full-text backfiles (back to 1975) for key magazines.

Click on "Advanced Search" to have more options for searching, like including synonyms or related terms.

An interface designed for students in grades 9 through 12 with a focus on the Arts, Literature, Biography, Business and Careers, Current Events, Geography and Culture, Health, History, Math, Science and more.  Includes articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers, as well as some encyclopedias.

Click on "Advanced Search" to have more options for searching, like including synonyms or related terms.

Another resource to consider.  This is used by college and university students:

This multi-disciplinary database provides full-text for over 4,600 journals, including full-text for nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles.  PDF backfiles to 1975 and further are available for well over 100 journals, and searchable, cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles.

CHOP, DROP, and OR method

To search like a pro, use the CHOP, DROP, and OR technique.

CHOP your topic into the different concepts involved.

  • Sample topic: using videos to help students with autism learn communication skills
  • Concepts: videos, autism, communication

DROP each concept into a separate search box on an Advanced Search screen.

Then think of synonyms or related words for each concept and type them in, using OR between them.

  • videos OR videotaping
  • autism OR aspergers
  • communication OR communicate OR verbal