Distance Learners

A guide for students enrolled in online or off-campus courses at USF

Finding Resources

The link above will bring you to the Video Tutorial Playlist, an extensive list of video tutorials that explain how to use our resources.  While not everything in the list will apply, there are many useful tutorials to get you started. 

If you are uncertain and beginning research on a general topic, a good general database is Academic Search Premier. Click A in the alphabetical list and choose Academic Search Premier.

Enter Your Search Terms


·         Don't enter your research question. Instead, enter your keywords or concepts.

·         You might want to limit your articles to full-text if you do not have access to a college or university library.



Know Your Limits: How to Narrow a Search

1. Search the title and/or abstract fields instead of all fields or the entire text of the articles. The title and abstract are more likely to tell you what the article is actually about.


2. Add additional search terms using the Boolean operator AND. You will get a more specific subset of material focused on aspects of your topic. For example, searching for "smoking" AND "women" will produce fewer and more focused results.


 Capturing the Information You Need

Once you find some articles on your topic, print, e-mail, download/save, or write down the citation information for each pertinent article. Downloading or saving citations on your computer makes creating a bibliography easier.



Article title: “For Women with Migraines there may be s Silver Lining. ”
Author’s name(s):Singer-Vine, Jeremy   Source/Journal title: Wall Street Journal
  Volume number: 254  Issue 11   Date of publication: 7/14/2009  Page number(s): pD2-D2  

 In addition, you have access to REFWORKS, which is free to USF Students. There is a wonderful online tutorial for this service which keeps track of your articles in the format that your professors recommend, which you can find on the Video Tutorial Playlist.

Important Notice! If you find an article in a database that is NOT full text, you must use ILLIAD, the USF Libraries Interlibrary Loan service. The first time you create your profile for ILLIAD, choose  "distance learner". You can request an article that is not in the USF online database to be sent to you electronically or by mail. Articles are free of charge and do not have to be returned.

Featured Tutorials