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IWU OCLS Tutorials: Develop a Search Strategy - Choose a Database


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IWU Online Campus Library Services provides access to many different types of databases and resources. The requirements of your assignment and your topic will determine the type of database you should use. 


Choosing a Database


Use the OCLS Find Your Database page to help you select a database.

To see all the subjects use the Subject dropdown on the All Databases A-Z page


Library Search vs. Individual Databases


The OCLS QUICKsearch will show results from a wide variety of resources and materials, including newspapers, books, multimedia, primary source documents, magazines, and journals. QUICKsearch allows you to locate content in almost all of the library databases in one search. This is a good place to get started with your research.


The OCLS QUICKsearch can be found on the OCLS homepage in the search box area. 


  1. Enter your search terms and then review the results. 

Searching OCLS QUICKsearch for renewable energy

  1. The search results can provide you with clues for your next steps that you can use in OCLS QUICKsearch or in individual databases. 

QUICKsearch screen labeled



Learn the Basics of Searching OCLS QUICKsearch


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Books or Journals



Books are a great place to start your research. They offer in-depth information on a topic, but may not be as current as other sources of information. 

OCLS has a collection of ebooks that you can search. 




Articles in magazines and peer-reviewed scholarly journals are good sources of current information. This is where you'll find the latest research. 


You can find thousands of articles in magazines and journals in the OCLS databases. Three good places to start are OCLS QUICKsearch, EBSCOhost, and ProQuest. 


If you are looking for a specific journal, use the Journal Title Search tool




Can I Just Google It?


We love to search Google because it's fast, free, and easy to use. But it can also be overwhelming in the number of search results. Not to mention that it's hard to verify the facts and reliability of the sources


OCLS provides access to Google Scholar, which searches for scholarly literature across multiple disciplines and sources. Google Scholar can be connected to the IWU Library to cross-search OCLS resources to see if the article is available in full text in our collection. 


On the Google Scholar results page, look for links that say next to an article. If you see that, you should be able to follow the link to access the full text of the article through the IWU Library. 



Learn how to Search Google Advanced & Google Scholar 


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  • Librarians may not be available all open hours, but will answer ASAP.