Introduction to Search Tools

Although there are various search tools available to you, some are better than others at finding scholarly information for your assignments.

On this page, we'll introduce you to three that we think you will find most useful. When you are looking for resources, it is often worth trying your keywords in each of these search tools – it doesn't take long and can give you some great results.

Primo Search

Primo Search allows you to use one search box to bring back results from a number of different sources, such as:

  • Books, DVDs, journals and other items found in the Library
  • Most of the Library's online journal articles and newspaper content
  • Many of the eBooks the Library subscribes to
  • CSU research papers and theses in CRO (CSU Research Output)

Enter your search terms, and then use the links on the results screen to refine your results, view online material, or locate physical resources. You can also place requests for material to be sent to your campus or home address (if you study by distance education).

Journal Databases

Journal databases are collections of journals, articles, conference papers, reports and more, generally arranged by subject. The strength of journal databases is that they are subject specific, they have many options for expanding or refining your search results, and they will link between themselves, so that an abstract found on one database can help you find the full text if it is held elsewhere.

There are also some journal databases that Primo Search and Google Scholar cannot search.

Go to the Journal Database page in this Libguide for more information on the journal databases relevant to your subject.

Need more help? See Journal Database help

Google Scholar

Use Google Scholar to search across many disciplines and locate resources such as articles, theses, books, and more. It allows natural language searching, forgives spelling errors, and helps to find related and citing material.

Google Scholar's limitations are that, unlike Primo Search, it searches beyond the CSU Library's holdings and may find resources that are not available to you. It is also not as good at refining searches as Primo Search and the journal databases.

Watch the video to learn more about Google Scholar, including setting Scholar preferences to find CSU Library links.

Or, try Google Scholar in the search box below.

Google Scholar Search



Use the Library Skills drop down menu above to go to the next topic.