search icon


Research assignment got you stumped? Don't know how to cite the sources you use?  Answers to your research woes can be found here:


6 Essential Searching Tips

1. Use key words...general words or ideas find thousand of web sites SO use the most specific words you can think of that describe your topic. In general don't type normal sentences in search engines and data bases; just use the keywords.

         For example: use sport utility vehicles instead of trucks.

         For example:  for the question: 

         Who are the members of the United Nations Security Council?
         The keywords would be:
         United Nations AND security council AND members.

2. Use quotes around phrases or names. This will find only those sites that have the words listed in that exact order.

          For example: enter "death penalty" or enter "Strathcona High School"

3. Use AND, OR, NOT (Boolean operators) to search for web pages containing the specific words and concepts you want.

  • AND lets you combine ideas and get more specific results.

          For example: environment AND Alberta will get results that mention both of these topics.

  • OR will find pages containing at least one of the words searched. Use OR when searching for keywords that have the same meaning.

          For example: "death penalty" OR "capital punishment"

  • NOT will skip pages that contain unwanted information that might otherwise show up.

          For example: If you wanted information on the planet Saturn, use Saturn NOT automobile

4. Parentheses combines the concepts and techniques. The search engine will search for what's grouped or nested inside the parenthesis first.

          For example:  ("rap music" OR "hip hop") AND censorship

5. Truncate your keywords. Go to the "root" part of the word and insert a symbol (often an asterisk *). This will expand your search to include words with multiple endings.

          For example: politic* will find the words politics, politician and political

6. Learn the search features of at least one search engine really well, including the advanced search tips. This will help you be a more effective searcher and save you lots of time in the long run.




Citing your information sources acknowledges the origin of your information, and it shows that you’ve put thought into your work and into your research. It shows that your information is accurate and lets your readers locate your information sources, This includes all types of information sources, including:

  • Books
  • Articles (from print sources or from online article databases)
  • Interviews
  • E-mail or any other correspondence
  • Web pages
  • Government documents
  • Non-print media (videotapes, audiotapes, pictures and images)
  • Software or any digital formats


Not all information available on the Internet is regulated for quality or accuracy; therefore, it is particularly important for you to evaluate the resources or information. This little guideline will help you to ask the right question while evaluating resources and information. 


One of the best sources to use when creating your bibliography is the Owl Purdue Site. Even if you are using the citation information directly from the databases, it is important to double check to ensure you have the format done correctly---- sometimes the database format is off a bit. 


Use this interactive citation generator to create correct APA, MLA and Turabian bibliographic and in-text citations.