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What is Discovery Service?

Search the Library

Search the TRU Library

What is Discovery Service?

The Discovery service, or "Discover search," is a search tool that searches most of what TRU Library has available, rather than you searching multiple databases individually. It's a great place to start your research.

Start your search in the box at the top of this guide, or find it on the TRU Library homepage:

Where can I get help?

Get Library Help

Library research assistance is available:

  1. Email
  2. Use AskAway chat service (orange box on right of homepage)
  3. Book an appointment with a librarian (via video conference)
  4. Use other research guides

Searching in Discover

Starting your Search

Searching works best using keywords: what are one or two main ideas of your topic? Enter those into the search bar and click Search.

For example, your search might be forest fires Canada:

Off Campus?

Reviewing your Results

A. Look at your search results.

The title of each result is the link to get further information about the resource (see section "looking at individual items"). For now, look at these titles to get a sense of what resources you have found.

Each item has an icon with the type of resource underneath (academic journal, book, ebook, etc.). For example:

B. Are your search results relevant?

Sometimes a keyword search retrieves articles that contain your keywords, but are not relevant to your topic. Tips for improving your search:

  1. Use different keywords. Perhaps articles that talk about forest fires in Canada don't use the term "forest fires," but instead use "wildfires." Enter that into your search instead to get different results.
  2.  Use more keywords. Are the articles too general? Add additional keywords to your search to narrow down your topic. Perhaps you are most interested in how forest fires affect the environment. Add the word environment to your search.
  3. Use fewer keywords. Are you getting too few results? Try removing one of your keywords. You want to find a balance between finding articles that are related to your topic, but enough that you can find one that works for you.

Using Tools to Limit your Results

On the search results page, there are many filters on the left-hand side under Refine Results. These will help improve your search. Two to get started with are:

1. Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals. This will give you only results that are articles from peer-reviewed journals. All other types of sources (such as books, ebooks, videos, magazine and newspaper articles) will be excluded.

2. Publication Date. If you are required to have articles from the last ten years, or if you are finding that the results you are finding are too old, change your allowed dates here by either typing in the year ranges you want or dragging the blue bars.

Looking at Individual Items (Articles, etc.)

Item Information

On the search results page, you can see the article's title, author, subject headings (special keywords), as well as some other useful information. This information can help you decide if this is the right article for you.

Click on an item title to see additional information about it. For example, most articles have an abstract, or overview. This will tell you what the article is actually about, and often what the results or conclusion of any research is.

Getting Full Text

On the top left of the item page, you will find a link to get the full text of the article. This may take one of several different forms, such as:

  • PDF full text
  • HTML full text
  • Check for full text
    • This will bring you to a list of links that you can follow to get to the PDF.
  • View this record from ScienceDirect

Click on whichever one of these links are on your article's item page. It will usually bring you directly to the article's PDF. If it does not, either look on the page it takes you to for the PDF icon, or ask us for help!


Note: The PlumX button here is not a full text link. Learn more about it here.

Item Tools

On the right-hand side of the item page are several tools. Some of the most useful are:

  1. Permalink. If you want to save a link to this item page, do not use the URL in the address bar at the top of the page. This URL will not work, as it is temporary. Instead, click on the permalink button to generate a link to this page that will always work.
  2. Email. This will let you email the information and link of this item to yourself or your group members.
  3. Cite. This gives you automatically-generated citations in different citation styles (APA, MLA, etc.) for this item. These are a great starting place, but be sure to proofread them using TRU Library's citation style guides! Because they are automatically generated, they often have errors.

Advanced Strategies

Advanced Search Tips

Boolean Searching

1. Use AND to combine words when you want to find articles that have both words.

Example: tea AND coffee

2. Use OR to combine words when you want to find articles that have either of the words (not necessarily both, but one or the other).

Example: coffee OR cappuccino

  • Tip: combine synonyms with OR to broaden your search and make sure that you find enough research!

3. You can combine both AND and OR to create a good advanced search strategy, either by using parentheses or multiple search bars.

Example: tea AND (coffee OR cappuccino)

Screenshot of tea AND (coffee OR cappuccino) search string in Discover with multiple search bars

Phrase Searching

Put quotation marks around phrases in the search bar to ensure that the words are searched as a phrase, not individually.

Example: "social media"

Example: "early childhood education"


Put an asterisk ( * ) at the end of words to fill in different word endings.

Example: Canad* will find: Canadian, Canadians, Canada, Canadas

Example: achieve* will find achieves, achieve, achievement, achievements

Caution: you may end up finding words that you didn't want!

Example: Chin* will find China and Chinese, but it will also find chin, chins, and chinstrap (penguins!).