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Advanced Searching Process: Home

Summary of research steps process


Find reliable definitions, vocabulary, summaries of topics.

News Resources
Review various general and special-topic newspapers (regional and ethnic perspectives), TV clips, etc.

Academic Search Complete
Search core (approx. 800) journals across many disciplines, with full text articles … limit by Academic Articles vs popular Magazine articles.

Subject Journal Indexes
Search deeper into subject journals, often with Advanced Searching options to limit by treatment types. May require you to use “Borrow From Other Libraries” to request specific journal articles when we do not have a subscription.

Search across a wide range of journals, and find high impact articles (Cited By) and track citation histories (references and citations).

Find books in our local catalog, expand out to the state-wide I-Share consortium, or even beyond to WorldCat.

Capture web pages, book citations, and full text articles; organize and annotate records; search records; insert references and create Bibliographies (citations) in research reports.

Advanced Searching -- The Process based upon types of desired material


Begin your research by exploring important terminology, uncovering key facts and trends, and reviewing encyclopedia and handbook entries using our Facts/Definitions tools.

Look for books covering your topic using our Book Catalog and consider expanding your search to our 90 consortial I-Share libraries.


If you are looking for the latest news on a popular topic use our News Resources page.


If you are looking for research material, start by searching the Academic Search Complete aggregator which contains fulltext articles from core journals across many fields.

Start your search for articles using keywords. Remember to use synonyms and to refine your initial results using both additional terms and/or the facets (sub-clusters of results by subject terms, date, material type, and so on) on the left side of the results page.  You may also find the Advanced Search options helpful in limiting searches by type of information, type of results, specific populations, and other variables.

HINT: Using subject facets removes materials that are irrelevant because of terminology confusion—for example, it would allow a researcher to easily remove plasma-in-physics articles from plasma-in-blood search results

You may also want to expand your search using additional journal-index databases from our subject guides.



Once you have completed your searching in your primary database(s), you may want to expand your searching using related subject databases (from the same list of subject guides found above).  You may also choose to search the interdisciplinary Scopus journal index that provides enhanced discovery techniques such as citation tracking.

In addition to performing searches at the point-of-need, successful search strategies can be saved and run automatically against new material added to the databases. These Autoalerts will send email results to you whenever a new article matches your search terms. This is a great way to maintain a competitive advantage over those who only occasionally think to search for new publications.

A final technique that may be useful if you are looking for fairly comprehensive searching is to use the Central Index which performs simultaneous searches across many databases. You will receive many results, but if you are willing to take the time to review them, you may discover related content in secondary fields or multimedia material not covered in the journal indexes.


NOTE: You may want to use the Citation Search option to quickly jump to a known journal article using your citation information.


  • You can limit to SXU materials, or expand to the state-wide consortium.
  • You must Login before you can request items from other libraries.
  • You can limit or browse using subjects, locations, languages, genres, and dates.
  • You can mark and then email or download specific records.

For more comprehensive research details see our Guide to elements and tools of the research process.

Tools to provide in-depth searching

The Academic Search Complete journal index covers and provides fulltext materials from a core set of undergraduate and beginning researcher level journals. For more in-depth coverage of topics consider:

  • Scopus. Articles in a larger number of journals ... focusing on science, mathematics, medicine, technology, and the social sciences. Scopus provides citation tracking, the Source Normalized Impact per Paper and SCImago Journal Rank through its Journal Analyzer. Lists of Scopus journals in chemistry, mathematics, and physics and astronomy.

Additional Searching Options (citation tracking, controlled subject searching, multimedia):

                   In these subject journal indexes you will want to:

  • Search by subject keywords to find historical journal coverage.
  • Use the facets to view the most frequent subject terms for broader coverage.
  • Consider related subject indexes for finding multidisciplinary materials.

Beyond the Search -- Handling your information

Discovery is just the first step in the research process.

Once you have identified the appropriate materials, you will want to capture and annotate these materials into your own personal knowledge database. The best tool for this type of personal knowledge management is Zotero, which allows you to capture, annotate, organize, cite, and share information.

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