The Skill of Searching for Information

Using Google or any other search tool to find information is probably something you have done thousands of


Searching for university level sources, however, is a completely different skill. You can end up spending hours and hours sorting through information that ends up being useless for your paper.


Learning how to search for scholarly sources is a skill you have to practice over and over before you become an expert searcher.



Ryerson Library – Start Here!

Here’s why the Library’s website is the best place to start your searching.

Studying at a Distance?

All these resources below are available on-line. You can do all your research from home!

1. We have Subject Guides

Ryerson University Librarians have created subject guides on topics from Accounting to Women’s Studies.

These guides bring together some of the leading books, journals, article databases, and web pages in your discipline. Consult these guides to save time and frustration.

2. We can help you (in person or virtually)

You’ve been searching for ten minutes and still have zero results? It may be time to ask for help. Consult a librarian to guide you through your search. Visit, call, email, or chat online.

3. You can “Search Everything” 

The “Search Everything” box is located on the library’s homepage. It will let you access the majority of the Library’s resources (online and print) with a single search. Search Everything searches across all the records in the Library’s catalogue, plus millions of full-text articles.

In addition to providing an easy to use search interface, Search Everything allows you to:

  • Refine your search results by Content Type, Subject Terms, Publication Date,
  • Access full text for the majority of resources found
  • Sort results by relevance or date
  • Save results for export into citation management software
  • Expand your search beyond the Library Collection

Watch a video on “Search Everything.” (Open Captioned)


4. We have books and e-books

If you want to look at only books (or online books) or if you have the name of a book or author you can search our books catalogue.

5. You can search for subject-specific articles

Subject specific databases are a great place to start, especially if your topic is discipline specific. Within these databases you will find full text, peer reviewed articles written by professionals in the discipline.

6. You can search for multi-subject articles

You may be amazed by the number of related articles you can find in multi-subject databasesFor example, if you are writing a paper on environmental law, why not look at articles in the Political Science, Geography, and Ecological Sciences sections as well.

The Library has databases that combine the subject databases into one large inter-disciplinary database.


Tip Box Search smarter, not harder! By getting expert help and with practice, practice, practice, you will get faster at locating your sources. Plus, the skill of searching will help you in your career and life outside of class