Remember that while encyclopedias are a good first step in your research (because they can give you a good over view of your topic, help you to narrow your topic, and help you to find keywords to use in your searching), they are not usually considered a thorough or detailed enough to use as one of your main sources for a college level paper.
SEARCH TIPS FOR USING EBSCO DATABASES
Using the "basic search" in EBSCO you can create a search phrase using Boolean operators to list all your keywords and denote the relationships that you need between them. For example: if I put into the search box (art OR artist OR artistic OR "art movement") AND (Italy OR Florence) AND (Renaissance OR "14th century") that tells the database to bring up all the articles that use any one of those terms from the first set of parenthesis and also contains any one of the words in the second set and also any word from the third set. If you search this way be sure you check the check box "Boolean/Phrase" so that it doesn't just search for every word you mentioned!
In a college research paper, you will most likely want to limit your results to "Scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals" This means that the articles were read and approved by other people who work in the topic area and found to be factually true. This help you to be more confidant the source is trustworthy and not filled with errors. So check the "Scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals" box.
You will also want to limit your search to "full-text only" at this point. This will ensure that you will actually be able to read the articles you find, right now. Indexes and abstracts are not full-text, meaning that you will have to contact your librarian to help you find the articles, that will take time and you may that they are not available electronically at all requiring you to travel to the documents. Usually they are only used for very deep research in Masters or Doctorate programs. So check the "full-text only" box as well.
Once you get your search results you will probably want to look at the drop down menus on the left hand side of the screen. These offer ways to limit your results
Often "Reviews" are not going to be a true full-text article they will just be talking about a full article so you may want to eliminate those by checking the boxes next to all the other options and leaving "reviews" check box empty.
You will probably also select only the articles that are in languages you can read fluently.
This takes our results down to about 400 articles, still far too many to read!! We can browse through the titles though and look for any other words we may want to include in our revised search. Maybe you are only interested in the painters of the era, you could edit your search terms (which are still shown right at the top of the page, no need to start over!!). You could add: AND (paint OR painting OR painter) to your search phrase.
Now we only have 106 articles
If you wanted to limit these even further you could add another word to your requirements. (art OR artist OR artistic OR "art movement") AND (Italy OR Florence) AND (Renaissance OR "14th century") AND (paint OR painting OR painter) AND (church OR churches) returns 34 results which is a good number of results for a researcher to begin looking at more closely!!
TIPS FOR NARROWING YOUR SEARCH IN INFOTRAC
The InfoTrac Databases from Gale are also searchable using Boolean operators in a way very similar to the way explained on the tab for EBSCO above. Once you have done that and gotten back your first round of results with TONS of articles InfoTrac offers a unique and I think fun way of narrowing down the results called "Topic Finder!"
If I conduct a search using the Boolean phrase (art OR artist OR artistic OR "art movement") AND (Italy OR Florence) AND (Renaissance OR "14th century") I get almost 5000 articles. That is way too many to start looking seriously at so I look at the options for limiters (found here on the right-hand side of the screen) at the bottom of the right-hand column there is an icon of a wheel and it says "topic finder"
By clicking on the Topic Finder we will get an analysis of what other words beside our search terms are most often found in the 5000 articles we turned up in the first step.
The most commonly found words will be the center colored circle in this case City, Design, New York, Family, Hotel, and Book. Then each of those are examined my the computer to determine which words are found most often within them! That is displayed in the outer colored circle
By clicking on one of these words that you think might be of interest to you, a list of titles plus a few sentences of the articles will appear in the box on the right of the screen and you can see if they fit your needs or if you want to look at another section of the wheel
From here you can simply click on any articles that look promising and read them in full!
An ideal citation would include:
Company. Product Name: Descriptive Code. Material Type. Parent Company, Location. Date. Accessed from: College for Creative Studies Color and Materials Library. Date Accessed.
Cascade Coil Drapery. Aluminum Gunmetal Black: 3/16-18 GA. Metal Coil Sample. Cascade Coil Drapery, Tualatin, OR. Spring2010. Accessed from: College for Creative Studies Colors and Materials Library, Detroit, MI. 7 Dec. 2016.
Green Choice Flooring International. Mulberry – StrandWoven: Fawn. Hardwood Flooring Sample. Green Choice Flooring International, Holland, MI. December 2012. Accessed from: College for Creative Studies Colors and Materials Library, Detroit, MI. 7 Dec. 2016.
As a bare minimum a citation must include at least:
Barcode Number. Description. Material Type. Accessed from: College for Creative Studies Color and Materials Library, Detroit, MI. Date.
3 6855 11146 2670. Emerald Green. Leather Sample. Accessed from: College for Creative Studies Colors and Materials Library, Detroit, MI. 7 Dec. 2016.