Every electronic index and database lets you search or browse to find citations to materials. Indexes and databases can be used to find a variety of materials, such as articles from periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.), book chapters, books, legal documents, statistics, and more. Sometimes the retrieved item record will link to the item's content (usually text), but other times you will need to go elsewhere to find it, such as the HALcat, the library catalog, Find It, or the Journal Holdings List.
A search is designed to locate citations to materials which contain specified words, with the goal of finding those pertaining to a particular topic. A good solid approach to research will save you time and effort in finding what you want.
There are some search strategies which are universal to almost every index or database, and this guide will introduce you to them. When using a resource for the first time, always check the search tips or help screens to see which of these strategies will work, and how they are applied, as there is variation among resources.
Typically, when beginning a new research project you will start with a search by keyword because you do not know the title, author or Library of Congress Subject Headings for your topic. The strategies described here are used in keyword searches.