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American Language Institute (ALI)

Library Information for students in the American Language Institute

Starting Your Research

Choose a database

  1. If you’re unsure which database to choose, try Academic Search Complete to begin. 
  2. Enter one or several search terms in the boxes.
  3. Remember that “AND” makes your search more specific,  “OR” makes it more general.
  4. Use the Limiters, like Subjects and Date, to help narrow down your results before looking through a huge list.


  1. What kinds of results am I getting? How many?
  2. Is the information Informative for my topic?
  3. What keywords seem to be working best?
  4. What new keywords (Subject terms, synonyms) can I try?


For each source you think may be useful for the assignment, ask yourself questions like these and make notes about the answer to keep track of your progress and intention:

  • Who are the authors of the works I have chosen? (Including websites, if any.)
    • What is their expertise?
  • Who is the intended audience of each work?
    • How can I tell?
  • What is the purpose of the work I have found?
  • What does each one want to tell its reader?
  • How does the work help my paper idea?
    • What part of my paper does it support?

Using OneSearch


Our main search machine, you can use this to find books and articles on any topic. You'll find this box on the library's home page.

OneSearch box from the library's homepage

Databases to Begin Your Research

Then choose one of these to find further information:

Which database should you use?

Look in depth at controversial topics or don't know where to start? Opposing Viewpoints
General Topic? Academic Search Complete
Business topics? Business Source Premier
Psychology topics? PsychInfo
Sociology topics? SocIndex


How to Use Academic Search Complete