Search Operators for Research

By Ann R.

Research, regardless of the topic, can be difficult without the proper search tools. Internet databases and search operators have made the process of doing research much easier today than it was previously. Here is a list of the top 4 search engines to go to when you need peer-evaluated and credible information. A lot of universities and other academic institutions pair with these online networks to offer students a place to go for research free of cost. While most of these sites do require people to register, some offer free trials and most do not require any online training.

1. Academic Search Premier (EBSCO): one of the best search engine operators out there. The site provides thousands of libraries, universities, and other institutions with the best content in every subject matter. The site includes: more than 8,500 abstracted and indexed journals, more than 4,600 full-text journals, and more than 3,900 peer-reviewed and full-text journals. As a student, most universities offer full access to EBSCO but anyone can request a free trial or sign up themselves.

2. Google Search: 100 percent free and 100 percent credible. Google says that Scholar “provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature.” It’s just as easy to use as the regular Google Search bar and it will provide you with links to where the article is offered in full-text if not available via the site. Information from sources like theses, books, abstracts, court opinions, academic publishers, and online repositories are all available from Google Scholar.

3. JSTOR: A great search engine operator that helps “scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive.” The operator has over a thousand academic journals and scholarly content. A subscription is required to access the database, but JSTOR also provides discounted rates to those who need assistance.

4. Lexis Nexis: another great database with over 45,000 searchable documents. Lexis Nexis primarily deals with content involving “legal, risk management, corporate, government, law enforcement, accounting, and academic markets,” but also contains information on a number of other subject matters.

Try these search engines first for the most credible and well-respected results. If these sites don’t yield enough information on the subject, deeper research may need to be done offline.

Ann R. is a life long student whose education is constantly evolving through real life experience, on-line learning, and the many mentors she’s had along the way.

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