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OTA: General Searching

Finding information for OTA students.

Find Library Resources

Overview of How It Works

Search Strategies:
  • Start with one word or phrase that expresses a key part of your inquiry. Since you will often be separating articles relevant to your field from research in other medical fields, it often makes sense to start there:
    • "occupational therapy"
      • it can be useful to put two word phrases in quotation marks
    • occupational therapy vocational guidance


  • OR start with the therapy, condition, theory, etc. that you are researching.If you are researching therapies or conditions, such as:
      • traumatic brain injury or "traumatic brain injury"
      • learning disabilities


  • Press enter to proceed to preliminary search results THEN ADD ADDITIONAL TERMS and evaluate your results.
  • Evaluate:
    • Look around the screen to see where your terms are highlighted.
      • Do you get any ideas of other terms to use?
      • Should you add quotation marks or take them away?
    • What can you observe from your results that helps you do a better search if one is needed?
      • READ. Even if what you see isn't quite right, you'll get clues to go on if you engage with the material instead of just doing search after search without refining your thoughts.

What Types of Things You'll Find

Types of things you might find:

  • Physical books that are located in the Parkland Library. These will have a call number, more information about locating them is below.
  • Ebooks--either whole ones or entries from things like dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • Streaming video
  • Articles from Magazines and Journals


  • Head to the Parkland Learning Commons/Library. If you need help finding the books, ask for help.
  • Remember you must have your Parkland ID with you to check out library materials.

No Full Text?

Discover an article you want, but no full text links in our databases?

Request the material through "Interlibrary Loan."

We look for another library that does have the article, and ask them to send us a copy.

This is a great way to get access to more stuff, but warning: IT CAN TAKE SEVERAL DAYS for materials to be sent.

General Questions and Reference Assistance


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We'll respond within 24 hours of the start of our next business day.

During Library Hours:

telephone pictureVoice:  (217) 373-3839.  

cellphone pictureText: (217) 615-0079.


Ask Jane

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Jane Smith

Learning Commons
Office number: R234
(behind Research Help Desk)

Parkland College Library
2400 West Bradley Avenue
Champaign, IL 61821

Fax: 217/351-2581