Learn to Search

Choose Your Topic

If given the choice of picking your own topic for an assignment, a great way to start is picking something you are interested in. It is much easier to research something you want to learn about!

Even if you cannot pick your exact topic, a good way to start the research process is to read and understand your assignment. By knowing exactly what is expected, this will also make the research process easier. If you do not fully understand your assignment, please reach out to your professor for clarification.

Understand the Types of Research

An important step in research is understanding different types of sources and how to find them. Typically, your assignment will state if you need a particular type of research (e.g. systematic review).

Our Finding Types of Research guide gives definitions, search strategies, and examples of many types of research.

Choose Your Keywords

Once you've made sure you understand your assignment and you've decided on a research topic, it's time to select your keywords. Certain words from your research statement may not be relevant to the search, as demonstrated in the example below. You should pick the most important elements from your topic to be used as keywords. 


Does exercise reduce BMI in overweight youth?
Example of Synonyms for Keyword Search
Examples of Synonyms
exercise overweight youth
"physical activity" obesity
movement "childhood obesity"

Check Your Knowledge

Where to Start Your Search

Search Everything

Luckily, here at the Chamberlain Library, we have one search box that will search across most of our databases! We call it the Search Everything box, and you can find it at the top of the library homepage. We recommend starting your research here because it will give you the widest variety of results in one spot.

The following databases are not included in the Search Everything box and will not appear in the results list: Anatomy.TV, Credo Reference, Cochrane Library, Dynamed, Micromedex, Natural Medicines, and Trip Pro.

Updated Library Homepage

Databases A-Z

Using the Search Everything box on the library homepage is recommended because it searches many databases at one time. However, there are times when an assignment requires you to use a specific database.

The library offers some specialized databases that cover specific types of information. These include:

To find our entire list of databases, along with their description, please visit our Databases A-Z list.

For quick tutorials on how to navigate our most frequently used databases, visit our FAQ How do I use Popular Library Databases?