How and where to find suitable resources

Search Basics

Where to start

Think about what you want to find out. When you look for a year when an artist painted a picture, you will approach the search differently than when you would look for its possible interpretations. You can easily look up the date on Wikipedia, but for interpretations, you will search professional sources, printed or electronic.

Where to find printed resources

The best way to find out which library is a printed book, magazine, newspaper or other resource is through online library catalogues.

More about book searching

Where to find electronic resources

You can find academic articles, books, research reports, and dissertations from various fields in specialised online databases at the Portal of Electronic Information Resources

  • You can search most of them simultaneously using the Discovery.muni service
  • Although the resources are licensed, as students or employees of Masaryk University, you can access them from anywhere using remote access. We recommend the OpenVPN application - you install it once and don't have to worry about anything.
  • Several databases work with the Full Text Finder service - click on the icon, and you will find out if the article is available in a resource subscribed to by MU.
Full Text Finder in the discovery.muni search results

If you did not find the full text of the article or book in the selected database, try to check their availability in standard search engines of freely available resources:

  • Google Scholar searches full texts and metadata from professional literature,
  • Google Books makes parts of copyrighted books available so you won't get to the whole book, but sometimes a few pages are enough.
  • You can also search the Open Access indexes of journals at or books at

Other interesting sources (not only textual materials) can be digital libraries, digitised archives and repositories:

How to search

What to write in the search field? Choose keywords that match your topic. You can use synonyms, superordinate and subordinate terms and determine their relationships. According to the search results, you will edit them and combine them in different ways.

If you find what you need after typing the first two words that come to mind, that's fine. You don't have to try to come up with sophisticated search queries.

If, after displaying the search results, the amount of found resources (articles, books) is too large, we recommend making the query more specific. Add additional keywords and use filters to specify, for example, the time period when the articles were to be published or their language. If there are no sources found, you can, on the other hand, generalize the query. Here you will use synonyms or superordinate terms. Advanced Tips – Boolean operators or using phrases and wildcards will also help you.

What to choose

Will this resource be useful for me? Is it relevant to me, and does it make sense to read it? In the results list, look at the titles, and browse the article's abstract or the assigned subject headings. If you're still unsure, also go through the introduction and conclusion, which usually summarize the article's main ideas.

What to believe

Academic articles should go through a review process that verifies their quality. But what if you are unsure or interested in an article on someone's blog? Ask:

  • Who wrote the article? Is it an expert in the field? (You can find something about him on Google.)
  • Who published the article? Is it a trusted magazine or site?
  • Is the information out of date?
  • Who is the resource for? Is the text professional and the author objective?
Advanced Tips

Boolean (logical) operators

They define links between search terms and help in narrowing or expanding the query

  • AND (+ or &) – the simultaneous occurrence of both search terms narrows the query; e.g. education AND children
  • OR – searches for articles where at least one of the search terms occurs expands the query; e.g. education OR learning
  • NOT – excludes documents containing the specified term; e.g. education AND children NOT adults
Booleovské operátory znázorněné pomocí množin

Phrases and wildcard characters

  • The phrase " " – quotes include words that must appear in the exact form and order next to each other, e.g. "Carolingian Renaissance" or "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"
  • Truncation * – shortening to the word root, psycholog* = psychology, psychological, psychologists, ...
  • Wild cards ? – wildcards, offen?e = offence AND offense

Wildcards may vary from search engine to search engine. If you've used them and the results don't match, seek the Help page.

Personalized search engine features

These features are primarily available after logging in and offer the option of saving results, sending them by e-mail, setting up alerts or notices (notifications about the addition of a new article based on criteria determined by you), sharing, etc.

The guide was prepared and maintained by Mgr. Eva Jandová. It is available under CC BY 4.0 license.

  • provision of reference and consulting services
  • coordination and provision of lessons and workshops
  • management of Facebook and Instagram social media accounts
  • creation of recherches

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info