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General Research Guide

A general guide for researching any topic using library resources and the open web.

OneSearch (Library Catalog)

Use OneSearch to browse all of the Los Rios print and ebook collections, scholarly journals, magazines, news articles, and much more.  


Looking for more options? Try an Advanced Search.

Research Databases

What is a library research database?

Library research databases contain information from published works, such as magazines, newspapers, and journals. There are different kinds of research databases. Some are for specific topics, such as medicine or history, and others cover a wide variety of topics. A database often contains full-text articles, which means you can can print, email, or save entire articles.


Books typically provide extensive coverage on one topic or theme. Subject-specific reference books can provide you with background information as well as the historical context of your topic.

  • Circulating Books may be checked out for use outside the library.
  • Electronic Books (ebooks) are always available and may be viewed on any computer with an internet connection, on or off campus.
  • Reference Books are available for use in the library, but not for checkout.

Write down the call number of the print books in your search results to help you locate the books on the shelf, and to give you an idea of where to browse for similar titles.


Articles published in periodicals (journals, newspapers, and magazines) can provide a narrower focus or perspective on specific aspects of your topic. It is useful to understand the purpose, authority, and identifying features of different types of periodicals.


  • Report original research and criticism
  • Published by professional associations to benefit those working in the field or discipline
  • Many articles are reviewed by other experts in the subject area (peer-review)
  • Articles are often lengthy and provide citations

Visit OneSearch to browse our entire collection of journals.


  • Focus on current events and news
  • Not usually considered scholarly or professional, but may be only source of information on very new topics


  • Focus on popular or current topics
  • Articles are often shorter and written for a general audience
  • Typically written by journalists