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The University of Tampa Macdonald-Kelce Library

Introduction to Library Research

Library handouts and a video presentation on starting your research using the resources at the Macdonald-Kelce Library at The University of Tampa.

Summon Search

Search everything.

Use Summon to search across the entire library catalog (books, DVDs, government documents) and most of the library databases (journal articles, images, newspapers).

Advanced Search


Primay, Seconday, & Tertiary Sources

It's valuable to know the distinction between three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary sources are original first hand materials which have not been interpreted. These include materials like diaries, court proceedings, institutional records, statistical data (raw data), or speeches. Original scientific research is also a primary source. See the Primary Sources research guide for information on locating primary sources.

Secondary sources are materials that evaluate, interpret, and discuss primary sources. Many scholarly journal articles, histories, and monographs are secondary interpretations of primary source material.

Tertiary sources are materials like encyclopedias, Wikipedia, or other reference works. These works compile and summarize primary and secondary sources. Consult these sources during the initial stages, but use primary and secondary sources for your research.


Look for books in Summon.

The library now has a discovery system Summon where you can search for books and articles at the same time. Search the box at the top of the page or click the link. 

Books are typically more comprehensive than scholarly articles.

Check the Table of Contents and Index for key terms and concepts.

Follow bibliographic trails.

Use the citations or the Bibliography/ Reference List/ Works Cited in a book to locate more books or articles.

Browse the shelf.

Academic libraries use the Library of Congress Classification System. This alphanumeric organization clusters similar materials together. The perfect book may be on the shelf so take a moment to look around.

Interlibrary Loan.

If you can't find a particular book in this library, Interlibrary Loan it, and we can get it for you from another library. To see which library has the book, visit If it is in the Hillsborough Public Library system, sign up for a free library card to access their collection.

Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Log in to MyUTampa to search databases for peer-reviewed journal articles.

Recommended Databases to Start with: 

These are comprehensive multidisciplinary databases. Check the "scholarly peer review" limiter to ensure your results are retrieved from only scholarly journal sources.

Search the A-Z Database List for more databases:


Research Guides will help:

Check the library's Research Guides to find which databases may be most appropriate for your research topic:


Peer Reviewed?

Unsure if your article is peer-reviewed? Check the database Ulrichsweb to find out.

Macdonald-Kelce Library - The University of Tampa - 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. - Tampa, FL 33606 - 813 257-3056 - - Accessibility