Research FAQ

library research


How do I start searching for library resources?

The best place to start would be to use our library search tool called QuickSearch @ PDCCC. This search tool is set-up to search all of our resources in the collections/databases available through Paul D. Camp Community College at one time by default (All items). All you have to do is type your keywords in the search box and click Search.


How do I find books for my research?

You can conduct a basic book search by using QuickSearch @ PDCCC. Type your keywords in the search box and select Books in the first Show Me: drop-down box, then click Search. If you have a specific title or author in mind, you can type that information as your keywords in the search box. The results from this search will identify resources from our print collections, as well as eBooks (electronic books) and audiobooks.

How do I find videos/multimedia for research?

You can conduct a basic video search by using QuickSearch @ PDCCC. Type your keywords in the search box and select Multimedia in the first Show Me: drop-down box, then click Search. The results from this search will identify resources from our video collections, including online video streaming.

  • American History in Video — offers a rich collection of video available online for the study of American history.
  • Films on Demand — provides access to thousands of full-length streaming videos and clips from many different subject areas.
  • Treasures from the Film Archives — a database which contains credits and holdings information for more than 48,000 silent-era films (features, short films, actualities and fictional works) in the collections of the major international film archives.

How do I find articles from databases for research?

You can conduct a basic article search by going to QuickSearch @ PDCCC. Click on Advanced Search, then select Material Type – Articles. Type your keywords in the search box and select Articles in the first Show Me: drop-down box, then click Search.

QuickSearch @ PDCCC has an Advanced Search feature. You can tell the difference between a Basic/Simple Search and an Advanced Search by the number of text boxes into which you are able to put keywords. Basic/Simple Searches will have a single text box in which to type; Advanced Searches will provide several text boxes and will likely offer other ways to limit or expand your search. Commonly used search strategies/techniques/tips are:

Boolean Operators = AND, OR, NOT
Some databases provide a drop-down list for these between text boxes.

  • AND connects two keywords meaning that you would like both in your results, narrowing them
    [Keyword example: students AND learning…student and learning will be searched for together]
  • OR connects two keywords meaning either of them can be in the results, broadening them
    [Keyword example: dreaming OR daydreaming…dreaming or daydreaming will be searched for]
  • NOT connects two words meaning you want one keyword without the other in the results, narrowing them.
    [Keyword example: singing NOT choir…singing will be searched for without the word choir]

Nested Logic = Parentheses ( ) around words that use OR to connect them in a keyword search

  • [Nesting example: animals AND (fins OR feathers)…the results should include only animals that have fins or animals that have feathers]

Side-by-Side Keywords = Quotation Marks “ “ around compound words or short, common phrases to keep those words together in your results

  • [Side-by-side example (compound word): “learning style” will have both words side-by-side in that order within your results]
  • [Side-by-side example (common phrase): “balance of power” will have all three words of the phrase in that order within your results]

Truncation = asterisk * (wild card) after a brief form of a keyword to broaden your results

  • [Truncation example: Teen* locates all forms of the word teen (i.e. teens, teenage, teenager…)]

**More detailed instructions on how to use search strategies/techniques/tips are available at Ebsco Tutorials.

The following online databases are available for your use: (to access these resources off-campus, you should consult the Remote Access information)

**Sometimes it is necessary to search several different databases depending on your topic. If you are not sure which database(s) to use, please consult a member of the library staff.


How do I find an article from an electronic journal (eJournal)?

If you specifically need journal articles, you can go to QuickSearch @ PDCCC and use the E-journals feature. From there you will see an A – Z list of the different online databases at your disposal through the VCCS. You can either type in the title of the particular journal/magazine in the search bar, or you may browse the list alphabetically by clicking on the letter in the A – Z list with which your journal/magazine begins.


What newspapers does the college offer?

**Each campus retains a copy of the previous month’s issues**

Franklin Campus Newspapers:

New Journal & Guide
The Smithfield Times
Suffolk News-Herald
The Tidewater News
The Virginian Pilot

Suffolk Campus Newspapers:

New Journal & Guide
The Smithfield Times
Suffolk News-Herald
The Virginian Pilot


Can I use resources/materials from other colleges/universities?

There are two ways for those affiliated with PDCCC to utilize resources from other colleges/universities. You may either request books through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) or get a consortium card.


How do I cite sources for my research project?

The instructor of your course should tell you what style he/she requires. Different academic disciplines require different formats for citation styles. Here are the two most common styles:

  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)

Some other common citation styles include:

If you need additional help in conducting research, visit the library, contact us at 757.569.6737 for the Franklin Campus or 757.925.6345 for the Suffolk Campus.


What if I need research assistance from home or after hours?

Currently registered PDCCC students, faculty, and staff can receive assistance using our Online Live Reference Service called LRC Live. LRC Live enables you and a reference staff member to chat online, in real-time. The service also allows the reference staff to share web pages and other helpful materials to assist you with your research, collaboratively and interactively.