Skip to Main Content

Search Bibliography

Find Background Information

Begin your research with gathering background information on your topic using reference materials, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and other sources. This will help you define what exactly do you need to find out, what does this include andwhat terms are used to describe it.


You can use some of the sources suggested below and/or an online search engine, such as Google, which is an easy way to get started with research.

Using freely available popular online tools (Google or even Wikipedia) to purposely gather background information can lead to better searches using library tools. 

Turn your Topic into a Question

What exactly do you need to find out? This will help you choose the appropriate search tools to use and be more specific in your searching.


Example - Topic: Technology in Education

Possible questions:

  • How does technology affect education?
    • (very broad, big topic)
  • What technological tools are used to enhance learning & teaching in primary education?
    • (specific-can you cover all levels/courses?)
  • How computers affect the learning of mathematics in primary school?
    • (specific -more manageable)
  • How can computers assist the teaching of arithmetic in first grade;
    • (narrow - check if you can find enough resources)


Identify the Main Concepts


  • How computers affect the learning of mathematics in primary school?
  • What are the effects of global warming on the environment?
  • By introducing “information literacy” in the workplace, employers are giving employees the opportunity to rethink and redefine the “information overload” problem itself.
  • Global warming is causing migrating birds to change their habits.
  • Children who live in poverty are more likely to have asthma than are children who live above the poverty line.
  • Examine the relationship between playing video games and anxiety in adolescents.

Brainstorm Keywords

  1. Create lists of synonyms and related words/phrases (similar terms, general ideas) for each of your main concepts (Concept Map) 
    • related terms can be broader or narrower terms
  2. Make sure you know your keywords
    • what is it; what this includes; are there any other words/phrases with the same meaning;


Example - How computers affect the learning of mathematics in primary school?

Computers Teaching Math Primary school
Laptops Instruction Mathematics Elementary school
PCs Learning Numbers Primary education
Mac Training   Elementary education
      Junior school

Use Keywords to Search Databases

Try multiple databases - their description will help you to choose the appropriate ones

Try different combinations of keywords 

See the Search Tips for better results