The Explore RSU Libraries search box on the library website is a great place to start your research. It searches all the library's resources in one place including books/ebooks, journal and news articles and government information.
Individual databases can also be searched. Below is a list of databases that are good for general, multidisciplinary research. An A-Z List of databases can be found here.
Did you know that when you enter an entire sentence into Google it searches each.. word.. individually? That's why you get millions of results back! Luckily Google does a decent job of returning relevant results from a sentence. Unlike Google, databases can't understand an entire sentence. You will need to break your topic down into the most important ideas, or keywords. Even Google will give you better results if you use relevant keywords!
Exclude irrelevant words
When using the databases, you should exclude all extraneous words from your searches. First, leave out all articles (a, and, the) in your search. Next, narrow your search terms down to two or three words that describe exactly what you hope to find For example, if you are writing a paper about the theme of discrimination in Frankenstein, narrowing your search terms down to discrimination and Frankenstein will likely retrieve a manageable list of more precise results.
After you have selected your initial search terms, list any synonyms or related terms that might be relevant to your topic. For example, if your search terms are Frankenstein and discrimination, you might want to try synonyms such as "prejudice" or "intolerance" in place of discrimination. You may even replace discrimination with a related term, such as "inhumanity." Successful searches are often the result of trying out a variety of terms. Most databases will provide you with suggestions of additional or alternate search terms to use, which can lead you to better results in a shorter amount of time.
Once you've broken down your research topic into keywords you can start searching more in-depth using filters and other search tools. The boolean operators and, or, & not can help you combine keywords to retrieve results directly related to your topic. Boolean operators are like a type of filter and can be used in just about any search bar, including databases and Google!
Most library databases have built in search tools such as filters.
Here are some useful filters:
You can also view the Advanced Search for more filters and tools!