We've already discussed how to break up your topic into little "chunks of information". Here are some pointers on making those chunks into a search in a database:
Go to the library homepage (adams.edu/library) and try your search using the main search box.
When a search for one or two keywords brings back too many results, you might want to narrow down your search. To do this, add another keyword into the mix using AND. For instance, if your search for plato turns out to be too broad, then you might want to look at what happens when you add republic and maybe another term, like socrates:
As you look at your results, there are a few different options for narrowing things down. These appear on the left-hand side of your search results:
In the Limit To box, you can limit your results to just those available in full text, only scholarly journals, or by year:
You can also limit your results by where they come from (magazines, newspapers, academic journals, etc.) in the Format box:
Descriptors and Subject Terms can often be great places to find words that describe your topic in the database that you might not have thought of. You can click on them or copy and paste them into your search. The abstract is a brief summary of the article -- read the abstract to decide if you're interested in reading the whole thing.
In the early stages of your research, it's a good idea to be in "gathering" mode -- don't necessarily set out to read a bunch of entire articles right away, but rather look at a lot of articles and collect all the ones that look interesting so that you can read them later. One good way to do this is to email potentially interesting articles to yourself. Use the Tools box on the right-hand side:
When you are ready to start reading articles for your assignment, there are a few different options for full text access to an article. Most commonly, you'll see PDF and HTML Full Text. Just click the link: