Information Search


Social factors such as poverty and family dynamics play a major role in why juveniles commit crimes.


  1. Journal article databases
    1. EBSCOhost
    1. ProQuest
    1. Google SCHOLAR
    1. Informit
    1. PubMed
    1. Elsevier
    1. JSTOR
    1. SAGEJournals
  2. Websites
  3. Books
    1. Google Books
    1. Libguides

How to Find Information

Most information for research is found online. In fact, all the sources listed above are accessed online. Therefore, it is essential to have information search skills. Besides, information search skills enable speedy retrieval of only relevant information and reduce the time spent during research. The first step in information search is identifying the search topic or subject and the researcher’s objectives.

Once a researcher has the research question, the simplest way to search for information is to paste it on a browser and rely on search engines like Google, Bing, and yahoo to provide relevant materials posted online. On this, relevance means those articles, videos, or pictures posted online, that have information related to the topic. Then one checks the search results that are relevant to the topic, opens them, and reads the information.


Although search results are related to the topic searched, not all are useful. Therefore, researchers should use keywords and key phrases to get the most relevant results. Key phrases and keywords are found by asking the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and Why and the How questions. For instance, my topic is social factors such as poverty and family dynamics play a major role in why juveniles commit crimes; I may use phrases such as why juveniles commit crimes, who is most affected by family dynamics, what is the implication of poverty on children, how poverty leads to juvenile delinquency, among other phrases.

Another hint to use relevant sources is by checking their credibility. Many web pages are published every day, some of which do not have credible information – they cannot be trusted. Credible sources are those written with authority (by professionals on the subject), are factual, consistent, and have other qualities that inspire belief. Usually, credible sources during the research include peer-reviewed journal articles, official websites, and government websites.

In addition to credibility, researchers have to consider the currency of a course. Some information might be credible but not current, thus, irrelevant.  When referring to a historical context, the currency of a source is not an important consideration. Otherwise, the most recent information is more relevant and reliable than old information. Some search engines like Google have options where one can set the currency of all information they need. Overall, some of the best strategies to search for information online are using keywords and key phrases. These should be related to the topic to generate search results that are relevant. Also, researchers should consider the credibility of a source by checking the professional scope of