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Library Research for Students

This guide is for Seneca students completing a research assignment.

Library Tools

There are several access points to discover Seneca Libraries' articles, books, and videos. 

Library Search. Below is a short overview to using Library Search (1:19):

Subject Guides

There is a subject guide associated with each program area at Seneca College. Search for yours for access to recommended databases, journals, websites and more.


Databases are searchable websites that contain articles. Seneca Libraries has many discipline specific as well as multidisciplinary databases for College programs. Use this link to search by subject, database type or vendor. Not every database will appear in Library Search, so you may want to try to do a targeted search directly in a database of choice.

What If I'm Not Getting Good Results?

The most common frustration with searching for articles is not getting "good" results. This can happen when you don't get any results, or the ones you get are not relevant to your topic. 

There could be several reasons for this, so you need to ask yourself questions to understand how to improve your search strategy:

1. Am I using the right keywords?

Sometimes if you change the words you're using you can find the articles you need.

2. Am I searching the right tool? 

Library search is a great starting point but remember, it doesn't search ALL material from library databases. For a list of database content not included in Library Search click here.

To find a database that may work well for you, check out your subject guide, which lists discipline specific databases recommended by librarians, or choose from our list of databases, where you can browse databases by subject.

3. Am I clear on what I'm looking for?

This is the trickiest question in this list because it may mean going back to your assignment and understanding what exactly is being asked of you. It also means understanding what information is in different types of resources.

For example, if you're looking for an overview or general explanation of a topic, you would find a better answer in a book, encyclopedia, or website. Remember that scholarly articles are very specific and are often times detailing a particular research study.

Library Search Tutorial: 

screenshot of tutorial


Library Search Quiz: