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Orientation for Online Graduate Students: Finding Information

This will guide new graduate students in online programs through library's resources & services, and get them started on the research process.

Search Strategies for Finding the Information You Need

This page includes strategies and techniques to help make your search for information more effective and efficient:

  • Interactive How-To-Search Tutorials
  • The PDF icon vs the Find Full-Text button
  • Connecting Google Scholar to the Simmons Library
  • Locations of different types of information
  • Search strategies to get you started.

Learn By Doing: Interactive Tutorials

Use these interactive tutorials to practice finding information on your topic using a database.

PDF vs. Find Full-Text

When you're looking at search results in a database you're going to see a few different ways to get to the full article, usually either...

 or  Find Full-Text green button

Both of these will take you to the article!


Click the Find Full-Text button and a new tab or window will open. In this tab, your article will load automatically. You will also see a YELLOW ribbon with a link saying "Go To Full Text Finder Results"--click the link if the article doesn't load on its own.

Connect Google Scholar and the Library

Set up Google Scholar to link to Simmons Library and to connect to the full-text articles we subscribe to for you (don't pay for articles - check the Library first!).  


Set Up Google Scholar & Simmons Library

  1. Click on Settings link in the upper right corner of Google Scholar.
  2. Choose Library Links on the left, type Simmons Library and click Search.
  3. Check Simmons College - Check Simmons Full Text and Simmons College - Cengage Gale Full Text from the list of results.
  4. Click the blue Save button.
  5. That's it!

Next time you're searching, look for the Check Simmons Full Text link next to each search result.

Don't see it? Click on more underneath the result. 


What Information Is Where?

Type of Resource  It is...
E-Resource Any electronic research material: online journal articles, e-books, websites, etc.
Database A searchable collection of articles and other academic writings available through the library.  You'll find these listed under "Databases."
Catalog Where you can search for locations of books, journals, videos, other media, archival materials and links to e-resources.
Research Guide A small website organized by a Librarian around a subject or course so that it's easy to find the print and e-resources for that subject or course.  For example, there is a Social Work subject guide, and a SW 441: Social Work Research course guide.
Library website The digital front door to the Simmons Library; your access point for all our services and resources.  

Searching Tips

Keywords are...

  • A good way to start a search.
  • The important concepts in your own words.
  • Found anywhere in the article (title, author, subject terms, etc.).
  • Very flexible.

Connecting concepts...

  • Join similar ideas or alternate term with "OR."
  • Link different parts of your topic with "AND."
  • Exclude concepts with "NOT."

Limit to Peer-Reviewed or Scholarly articles...

  • This is part of the publication & editorial process for academic and research journals.  
  • Being peer-reviewed is a sign that a paper's author(s) have done a certain level of due diligence in their work and their research is complete, manages conflicts-of-interest, and is fair and objective.

Narrow the Date Range...

  • When looking for Current Research or Evidence-Based Practices limit your date range to the last 3-5 years.

Still not finding anything?  Ask a Librarian!