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Finding What You Need When You Need It

This Research Guide is full of useful information, tutorials, videos, and diagrams that will help you find what you're looking for here at VCU Libraries. The interactive tutorial will allow you to go step by step through VCU Libraries Search. If you prefer video tutorials, there's one for starting your search, one for narrowing your results, and another for advanced searching. We also have images and diagrams to help you find books on the shelf. If you need additional assistance or prefer to learn in person, visit the front desk, make an appointment with a librarian, or get in touch through chat or text

Getting Started

First, before you start researching, log in to the VCU library page. This will give you full access to all of VCU Library’s resources.

In the top right hand corner you’ll see My Account. Click and log in. It will take you to a main landing page with an overview of your account information. Just click the word Libraries in the top left hand corner to go back to the VCU Library Search bar.

Now you can begin your search. If you know the title, author, or journal your looking for, just type it in and press return. Otherwise, If you're doing research, you'll need to develop some search terms.

Start by asking yourself, what is your general topic? Once you have topic, decide what aspects of your topic you're interested in researching. The causes? The effects? The solutions?

Then ask who is impacted by your topic? When? Current? Past? Future? Related to a specific event? Now ask yourself where all this is taking place. Is it a specific country, region, state, or place?

Once you have a topic, who, what, when, and where, come up with synonyms or related ideas for each.

Now you should have plenty of terms to work with! Here are a few additional tips.

  • Use different combinations of words in the search bar to get different results. 
  • Try to use words that the authors and researchers would use themselves. 
  • Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. 
  • Every word you type in will be searched, so leave out unnecessary or common words. For example, if the words "a, an, the" are in your search, the catalog will look for those specific words. 
  • You can use AND or OR (in all-caps) to ensure that both terms must be in the results, or that one or the other term may be in the results.  
  • USE THE FILTERS! After you initiate a search, you have filter my results on your right hand side. The more filters you use, the less results you'll have to go through.
  • Don't stop with the first ten results. Loading more results multiple times will give you more options to choose from.

Interactive Tutorial on VCU Libraries Search

Using VCU Libraries Search: Part 1

Learn how to use the VCU Libraries Search.  To see how to narrow down your initial search, see Searching in the VCU Libraries: Part 2.

Using VCU Libraries Search: Part 2

Narrow down your results in the VCU Libraries Search to find more relevant information.  For an overview of how to begin your search, see Searching in the VCU Libraries: Part 1.  For more tips on finding information in the VCU Libraries, watch Searching in the VCU Libraries: Advanced Search.

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