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Start Your Research

Just starting your research? Review the basics here.

How-To Guides

Find Articles

Quick Search Logo

Search MSMU Libraries for articles


Search Tips: Basic Searching in EBSCO

To create a Basic Search:

  1. Enter your search terms in the Find field on the Basic Search screen.

  2. Click the Search Options link, if you would like to use any of the optional Limiters or Expanders. To close the Search Options, click the link again.

  3. Select a specific search mode, such as "Find all of my search terms," or "SmartText Searching."

  4. Apply Limiters such as Full Text or Publication type; or use search options that expand your search, such as "Apply related words." 

  5. Click the Search button. The Result List displays.

  6. The search field is displayed above the Result List. Your search terms, limiters and expanders are retained.  

  7. To revise your search, you can apply the limiters under Limit To on the left or click the Show More link to view all available limiters.


Research databases
Limit Your Results
Search for Articles, Books, and more in JSTOR

Search Tips: Basic Searching in JSTOR

Using the Basic Search

Place words within quotation marks to search for exact phrases (“to be or not to be”).

Use Boolean operators to construct a better search (“tea trade” AND china).

Search Tips: Basic Searching in ProQuest

  • Use "quotation marks" to search for exact phrases.
  • Separate terms with OR to find any of your search terms.

Checking the Full-text limit will restrict your search to only search and retrieve records containing full-text.

Checking the Peer-reviewed limit will restrict your search to only search and retrieve records that are indexed in peer-reviewed journals. Peer-reviewed journals are a subset of scholarly journals and are defined as journals that undergo a review process where other experts (peers) in the field review the work before it is published in the journal. Peer-reviewed journals are also commonly known as refereed journals.





With Google Scholar you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites.

Search Google Scholar from here:

Google Scholar Search

Be sure to link Google Scholar to the MSMU Library to get free access to many library resources.

To do this from the Google Scholar homepage:

  • Click on Settings in the upper-right corner, or from the menu
  • Click on "Library Links" on the left
  • Type in "MSMU" or "Mount Saint Mary's"
  • Then check the box that says "MSMU Library- Full-Text @ MSMU"
  • Now your results will link to the MSMU libraries' resources. 

  • Make sure that you select Mount Saint Mary's University- LOS ANGELES - otherwise, you may end up connected to the other Mount Saint Mary's in Maryland.
  • Once you are connected to MSMU you will see library links on the right-hand side "Full-text @ MSMU"


Databases A-Z

Multi-Subject Databases

Search these databases to find scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles, magazine articles, and news on a broad range of subjects. 


If you are looking for scholarly or peer-reviewed articles, most databases have a search limiter you can select to narrow to only scholarly/peer-reviewed. Look for this option to narrow your search, there will most likely be a box for you to check.

Find A Specific Article

Need to find a specific article that you have a citation, title, or author for?

1: Know the Journal Title? Search E-Journals

Virtually all journals that MSMU has full-text access to online are indexed in our E-Journal search. Simply type in the title, hit search, and you will find all the databases where you can access the journal.

2: Only Have the Article Title? Try Google Scholar

If you don't have the full citation, try using Google Scholar to find the article. Check out Google Scholar Search Tips here.

3: Can't Find it Anywhere? Request it through Article Request (Document Delivery)

If you cannot find the article using the first 2 steps, we probably do not have immediate full-text access to the article, but that doesn't mean that we cannot get it for you! Try requesting it through Document Delivery.

Articles are usually delivered within 2-3 business days.

Use Keywords & Boolean Logic

Library databases don't search using full sentences. Instead, they use keywords and boolean logic.

Your best bet is to use keywords to search to get the results you are looking for.

What is a keyword?

Keywords are the essential words in your research question that focus on the main concepts you are interested in.

Other filler words are non-essential to the search process.


The keywords are highlighted and bracketed in the research question below:

Research question: What is the connection between [race] and [police brutality]?

Keywords: your keywords and key phrases are then "race" and "police brutality"

What is Boolean Logic?

Boolean logic is a system that shows relationships between sets of keywords, terms, or subjects by using the words AND, OR, and NOT. In library databases, we use these terms to specify exactly what we are looking for when we perform a search.

The term Boolean comes from the name of the man who invented this system, George Boole.

Connecting Words with Boolean Logic

Using connecting words like AND, OR, & NOT can help you find what you are looking for. 

  • AND: use AND to connect terms when more than one keyword or phrase is needed
    • race AND police brutality
  • OR: use OR to search for synonyms and related terms
    • race OR ethnicity OR racism OR minorities
    • police brutality OR excessive force OR police shootings
  • NOT: use NOT to exclude terms that are unwanted
    • police brutality NOT riots
  • "  ": Use quotation marks "your phrase" around phrases to get exact results
    • "use of force"
    • "officer-involved shooting"

Learn more about keywords and other search techniques with this guide from UCLA: Search Techniques

Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Articles

Sometimes called scholarly, peer-reviewed, academic, or even "refereed', these terms all refer to journals that require review by a group of experts in the field before an article can be published. These experts are looking for things like appropriate methodology, proper research, and citations, advancements to the field, etc.

When searching for articles, look for the option to narrow your search by peer-reviewed, scholarly, or ‘refereed’ materials. There will most likely be a box you can check to limit your search.

Learn more about the peer-review process in this video from the University of Kansas: Peer Review In Three Minutes

Online Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and Other Reference Materials

These resources are great for fact-checking, quick and basic information, and topic overviews. They can also be a great place to start when researching a new topic that you are not familiar with. Finding basic information on a topic can help you understand what to look for in more advanced searches. 

Find Open Access Journals

DOAJ is a good place to start.

See all Open Access Databases.