Skip to Main Content

Research & Resources: An Introduction

This guide is an introduction to the research process, understanding different types of resources, where to find them, how to evaluate them and cite them.

Video Tutorial

Breaking down your research question or topic

Search Tips

Search Tips

Search Tips

Use ADVANCED SEARCH. It will help guide your search.

Keep it simple. Limit the number of terms you put in the search box. Remove insignificant words.

Try different search terms. Think of the words the writer might use. Switch the order of your terms.

No results. Check your spelling. Swap out one term.

Try different search engines/library database. Some results will be the same, but not all.

Search again. Research means searching again and again.


The following search tricks usually work. Check each search engine or library database for Advanced Search or Search Help options.

Trick / Operator

What it does


Number of Results

“Quotation marks”

Searches the exact phrase

“Spokane Falls”


- NOT        

Excludes a term


NOT college



Searches for either term. Use parentheses.

(bigfoot OR sasquatch)



Allows for different letters or terms to be filled in.

Franklin * Roosevelt




Limit results to search a specific website or domain




Searches the term, as well as synonyms and alternatives





What you are looking for

Search Box Option 1

Search Box Option 2

Crime rates, but not murder rates, in Spokane, Washington coming from a government agency.

“crime rates” -murder Spokane site:gov

crime rates -murder Spokane site:gov