Know Thy Database
They're all different. To optimize results, learn their idiosyncrasies by referring to advanced searching instructions & help guides.
Never forget to record a complete citation for each valuable source of information that you've taken the time to find - you don't want to have to track it down later. Many students keep a research notebook, lab notebook, file, or database to record useful information as they're working on their research. Some students use RefWorks or a similar citation management tool. to keep track of their citations (for example, EndNote or Zotero).
If you've set up a (free) account with RefWorks, just sign into your account and you can export database results to your RefWorks account. RefWorks is an online tool to which Stevens subscribes that helps you keep track of your sources, save your citations, and, create a bibliography that you can insert easily into a Word file when you're writing a paper. Ask a librarian for more information.
Cast a wide net
Try using very broad terms to begin your searching within a database. You can always narrow your search later. By starting with broad terms, you can get a feeling for the scope of everything that exists on your topic, so that you don't miss something important by getting too specific, too soon.
Know When to Ask
It's ok to ask for help at ANY TIME during the course of your research. And sometimes, it really makes sense to capitalize on people as resources of information. Don't hesitate to consult with your professors, the Reference and Research Services Librarians, or to locate experts on your topic who are willing to give advice.
Follow The Source
Save time by following up on the sources cited in someone else's bibliography.
Start with OneSearch (search across multiple library databases at once to discover a wide variety of sources on your topic)
...for the results in one database. Each database indexes different journals and no database provides exhaustive coverage of all journals in a subject area. For a thorough search, use as many databases as you can. Each database has unique search features that can help you target the best sources for your research.
The Early Bird
Don't wait until the last minute to begin your research. Although some of your references might be found immediately in our full-text databases, chances are that not all of them will be. If you're doing a thorough job with your research, you'll probably have to order at least some of your documents through our Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery Service. Given a reasonable amount of time, we can obtain almost any document you need for just $1 per document (and no fee for books).