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*Research Help*: Be an EER!

Be an Efficient and Effective Researcher.

Using the Library

Powell Library Video Tutorials:

 Introduction to the Robert L. Powell Library (4:16)
         A brief video introducing the Powell Library Web site.

 Sign into your Library Patron Account (3:43)
         Create your own password to access your Library Patron Account, My Personal Lists and My Saved Searches.

 Introduction to Discovery: Cite, Save, Share (3:48)
         Learn how to use the cite, link, email and save features of the Discovery catalog. 

 Introduction to Discovery: Course Reserves, Resources, Chat (3:54)
         An overview of the Course Reserves, Resources links and Chat with a Librarian features of the Discovery Catalog.

  Introduction to Discovery: Simple Search (6:32)
          Learn how to conduct a Simple Search in the Discovery Catalog.

  Introduction to Discovery: Advanced Search (4:31)
          Easily set up advanced search queries.

 Find Databases (2:54)
         Find all of the databases licensed to The Master's University Robert L. Powell Library.

 Find Journals (3:05)
         Discover what journals the library subscribes to, either physical or electronic.

Basic Research Skills (4:55)
         Learn basic research skills using the Discovery Catalog.

 Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) (2:26)
         Learn how to find and use Library of Congress Subject Headings for a more efficient and effective search.

  InterLibrary Loan (6:36)
          Acquire books and articles when the Powell Library does not have what you want.

  Seven Steps to Successful Research (8:50)
          Follow these steps and become and efficient and effective researcher.

Total minutes viewing time: 55:30.

Last updated November 2023.

7 Steps to Successful Research

Step 1:  Peruse the Library's Web Site:

Familiarize yourself with the library's online catalog (see "Introduction to Discovery: " links above), databasesjournalsInterlibrary Loan and other library services.

Step 2:  Get Background Information:

Use encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, textbooks, or other general works to provide background information, a readymade outline, expert authors and contextual parameters on a topic. See Reference Resources Research Guide for a description of the various types of reference tools and their use.

Step 3:  Use the Library Catalog:

To find books, eBooks, eAudiobooks, articles, theses/dissertations, CD's, DVD's, etc. type your key search terms in the search box on the library’s Web site <>,  

Step 4:  Find Scholarly Articles:

Whether using periodical indexes like Academic Search Ultimate, ATLA Religion and ProQuest Research Library or using the library catalog, to find scholarly articles simply limit your search to "Peer Reviewed". In most instances, the "Peer Reviewed" option retrieves articles from academic scholarly journals as well as peer reviewed journals. See "Identify Scholarly Articles" in the Research Guide "Identifying Scholarly Sources" for more details.

Step 5:  Systematic Serendipity:

Using sources to find more sources is the key to doing efficient and effective research.  The bibliographies, subject headings, authors, tables of contents, call numbers and summaries or abstracts from each resource found can be used to find more sources. For example use the bibliographies found in encyclopedia articles as a source for both book titles and expert authors. Use the Subjects found with each record in the library catalog to search for other items with the same subject. Use the call numbers associated with each item to browse the shelves for similar items on the same topic. Alternatively, use the "Browse the Shelf" option in the catalog. Also, identify possible search terms from the tables of contents, summaries and abstracts to further expand or focus your search.

Step 6:  Evaluate all Resources

Examine each potential resource for relevancy to your information need.  Consider the purpose of the material; the authority and expertise of the source (author/creator, publisher/provider); the accuracy, comprehensiveness and currency of the content. See Evaluate Sources above for more information.

Step 7:  Librarians are your friends.  

Introduce yourself to the Reference Librarian.  S/He can help you find what you need much more efficiently and effectively.  There is no extra mercy granted to those who work harder instead of smarter.

Contact Miss T., Reference Librarian & Institutional Copyright Specialist:; 661.362.2201


Last updated September 2022.

Search Discovery: Find Books, Articles and more . . .

Go to the TMU Library Web site:, go to, select the search icon (top right)  then select "Current Students" or "Faculty & Staff", then select 'Library'

Use distinctive key terms or core phrases in the "Search" box and Enter.

For example use <sovereignty god>; not <the sovereignty of god> or use <"sovereignty of god">; not <"the sovereignty of god">. The quotation marks tell the search engine to treat the terms as a phrase.

Optionally, consider using these index codes to focus your search:

ti: to search just the Title field

au: to search just the Author field

su: to search just the Subject field

In addition to the Basic Search is the Advanced Search option.  Select the "search" icon on the basic search line, then select "Advanced Search" from the banner at the top (left)

The Advanced Search page provides options for selecting additional index fields, Boolean operations and refining options, all of which can be used to set up a focused search query. 

Once the results page has been acquired, the search query can be manipulated with the main "Search" bar at the top center of the results page.

Also from the results page, you can focus your results with a variety of Refining Filters (left column). For example use Content Type to limit to only 'Peer-reviewed' articles; or use Material Type to limit to just eBooks.  You can also limit the results to a specific Year of Publication, Author, Academic Discipline and Language. 
When the search results are returned, those records that read: "Available: The Master's University" are available to the TMU community.  Hardcopy books (physically in the library) will include the Call number of the book under "The Master's University, Powell Library.  Books available electronically will include a linked box "View eBook" beneath the image of the book.


Last updated January 2023..

Access eBooks and Full-text Articles

To access the eResources the library provides, select the blue "View eBook" or "Access Online" button associated with the desired item.

When off campus, you will be prompted for your Master's University Login credentials.  These are the same ones you use to access Self Service and Canvas.


Problems accessing eResources?

If for any reason you are unable to access the online resource, take these three steps:

First, be sure you are using your TMU credentials [TMU email address and password used to access Canvas & Self Service]. 

Second, if you are still unable to access the online resources, contact Miss T. right away <>.  Please include a detailed description of the steps you took, the item(s) you are trying to access, as well as screen shots of the process, especially the error message. 

Third, while you're waiting for Miss T. to get back to you, you can try using the "Troubleshooting Access Issues" to find a possible resolution to the problem.  This guide can also be found on the library web site, under Research Guides --> Help with Research.


Last updated October 2021.

Related Research Guides

Work smarter not harder. Ask Miss T

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Janet "Miss T." Tillman
Robert L. Powell Library
The Master's University
21726 Placerita Canyon. Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91321

More Help with Research

Systematic Serendipity

1.  Choose the right database for your search:  search engines, databases and data repositories differ in reliability, relevancy and organization of data.

2. Master the keyword search: keywords should not be too inclusive or too limiting and they require constant iteration as you become more familiar with your research field.  Become familiar with boolean operators and wildcards.

3. Filter and analyze your search results. Optimize the overall relevancy or your results with the use of refining options like format, content type, publication year, language, author and academic discipline.  Analyze resources using those that are the most highly cited research

  • Identify seminal research in any field by paying attention to the number of times a paper is cited.
  • Track the advancement of research as it progresses over time by analyzing the papers that cite the original source (this will also help you catch retractions and corrections to research).
  • Track the evolution of research backward in time by tracking the research that a particular paper cites.
  • View related references – if papers share citations (calculated from bibliographic coupling), they’re likely discussing similar topics.

Last updated April, 2020.