Resources for Water Advocates

Guide for high school students researching to educate citizens of Kansas about water issues and conservation practices.

Library Research Guide

The Advocate's Strategy

Information for your water work can be found in many places. Librarians can help you find information both in print and online at your school, public, local community college, and/or college or university libraries. Some resources in those libraries are limited to students or residents of specific communities.

Access to the search engines and databases below varies: Search It will work only while you are at Kansas State University while the EBSCO (EBSCO is a database vendor) databases - GreenFILE, Agricola, Academic Search Premier, and Newspaper Source Plus - should work anywhere in the state of Kansas. Other databases are available at the National Agriculture Library.

Note: as you select sources for your research it is important to evaluate them. Check out our Library Basics guide for resources for evaluating sources.

Search Engines and Databases

The Internet is an uncontrolled, unorganized mish-mash of excellent scholarship and incoherent musings, but some simple tips can help you focus in on the good stuff!

Try these strategies in Google:

  1. Use quotation marks (") to search for exact phrases. For example, water resources.
  2. Use minus sign (-) to remove words from the results. For example, water -utility.
  3. Limit your search to educational or government sites. To do this, add the following to your search: site:edu OR site:gov. For example, "water resources" site:edu OR site:gov.
  4. If you get too many results, specify that some words must appear in the title of the document. Do this by adding intitle: in front of the term. For example, intitle:groundwater. You can combine this approach with the other strategies mentioned here, e.g., intitle:groundwater site:edu OR site:gov.
  5. Powerpoints can provide useful overviews of a topic. To search Google for Powerpoints, add filetype:ppt to a search. You can combine this with other strategies mentioned here. e.g., kansas water site:edu OR site:gov filetype:ppt.
  6. If you find a useful page, you can find pages that link to it by typing link: in front of the url.

More tips on searching from Google: Refine and Filter.

Type in the search box and/or click the Search button to open this Google search in a new tab.

Google Web Search

Google Scholar is just like Google, but the results are more academic. They are still a little wild (not always scholarly and sometimes from questionable or biased sources) so you should be evaluating articles you find here. You can find research related to an article in Google Scholar by looking at an article's references (past) and where it was cited (future).

Type in the search box and/or click the Search button to open this Google search in a new tab.

Google Scholar Search

If you are on a Kansas State University campus, you will have access to research resources and databases. Search It contains information about millions of articles books, ebooks, videos, cds, government documents, maps, dissertations, and other items at K-State Libraries.

Tips for using Search It

  • Start broadly by performing a keyword search for one or two terms.
  • You can search for multiple forms of a word using an asterisk. For example, waters* will search for waters OR watershed OR waterside OR waterskiing (or any other word starting with waters).
  • Use quotation marks to search for phrases, e.g., "water quality".
  • After you perform a search, filter by resource type and by topic by clicking "more options" under the lists in the left panel.

Advanced Search

With Advanced Search you can search for multiple terms in specific locations (fields) on a record. In this example we are searching for the exact term "water rights" in the title field and kansas in the subject field. This search is also limited in the publication date field to last 5 years. This advanced search returned 8 records.

Click here for the results of this advanced search in Search It


EBSCO is a research service with many databases. Access to some EBSCO databases is available through the Kansas State Library. These are best bets for water advocacy research:

You can search in multiple databases at once by clicking "choose databases" above the search box. The image below is linked to the search results pictured, see if you can add the Agricola database to this search.

Search results for kansas water quality in GreenFILE database from EBSCO. This screenshot highlights where to choose databases, filter or refine results, and sort results. Note in refine/filter results: "subjects are a great way to narrow your search, this list will also help you find keywords."