Trending Topics: What Students Are Searching for in 2023

Trending Topics: What Students Are Searching for in 2023

Students with a giant smartphone, running searchers

What do social media, abortion, climate change, and mental health all have in common? They all made the top five in our Credo Reference and Films On Demand lists of the top 10 searches for the 2022–2023 school year! The search trends from our two multidisciplinary resources show what topics researchers on college and university campuses across the world were most interested in the past year. Any surprises?

Top 10 searched topics in Credo ReferenceTop 10 searched topics in Films On Demand


Search results for "social media" on Credo Reference

Students use Credo Reference to find foundational background information on any topic to get started on their research. Films On Demand is used by both students and faculty to find supplemental material for their projects or introductory courses. It should come as no surprise that there is so much overlap in their respective top 10 lists. 

Climate Change: The Facts on Films On Demand

Search trends in our resources tend to be driven by one of two factors: either the subject is an evergreen topic, required year after year—like “Study Skills,” “Critical Thinking,” or “Shakespeare”—or the concept is driven by the national or global conversation, like abortion or climate change. Let’s take a closer look at our top 10 lists:

The Science of Climate Change book cover

Climate Change

“Climate Change” was the number one search in Credo Reference last year and the number two search in Films On Demand. It has been a staple in our annual search trends over the past three years, when we started tracking year-over-year trends.


Study Skills & Critical Thinking

“Study Skills” was the number one top search term for Films On Demand this year, as many faculty members and librarians embed short instructional videos into online courses so that instructors can use class time to focus on their subject of expertise. “Critical Thinking” came in at #8 for Credo Reference, as that platform is a magnet for those just beginning the research process. Critical thinking, resource evaluation, and exploratory search is always top of mind for Credo users.

"Critical thinking" Credo Mind Map

Social Media

“Social Media” was #2 and #3 in Credo Reference and Films On Demand respectively. Looking at the social media trends uncovered in a 2022 Pew Research Poll about young adults, social media, and technology, it is safe to say social media, especially YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, are a near constant in many young people’s lives. As teens make up a good portion of our current and future college students, it’s no surprise to see this topic among the top search trends this past year.

"100 Million Views" on Films On Demand

Mental Health 

“Mental Health” came in #3 and #4 on our platforms this year, as 2022 and 2023 welcomed a new openness to discuss mental well-being, particularly after the stresses of the global pandemic. Check out our fantastic blog on the subject, highlighting some of the excellent content in Films On Demand that covers this serious topic. Credo also has a number of encyclopedias ideal for students entering the mental health care fields:

Three mental health-related titles on Credo Reference

Psychology, Stress, and Addiction

The Encyclopedia of Addictions and Addictive Behaviors on Credo Reference

Outside of the search term “Mental Health,” these topics were on the minds of researchers using other keywords as well. We see “Psychology” show up at #10 in Credo, while two other terms closely related to mental health, “Stress” and “Addiction,” show up on the Films On Demand list at #7 and #9 respectively. With so much focus on this extremely relevant topic, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that both Credo and Films On Demand have extensive coverage in this area.


“Abortion” rounds out the top five for both collections. With Roe v. Wade being overturned in June of 2022, the abortion debate has returned to the national conversation with a vengeance. Abortion has become a major discussion point in politics, at home, and on college campuses around the United States. Credo Reference and Films On Demand offer context, background information, and the history of this topic for classroom and research paper use.

  • Find an outstanding documentary from HBO® entitled The Janes about an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions in the 1970s pre-Roe in Films On Demand.

"The Janes" on Films On Demand

  • Find related terms to explore the topic using the Credo Reference Mind Map:

"Abortion" Mind Map on Credo Reference

Minimum Wage and Social Inequality

"minimum wage" search results on Credo Reference

Credo Reference brings forth a few popular unique searches relating to U.S. domestic problems. Topics always rife for research and exploration. “Minimum Wage” was the fourth most popular search term in Credo this year, while “Social Inequality” came in after “Abortion” at #6.

Credo’s Ethnic Studies Essentials Collection offers access to the Handbook of Research on Social Inequality and Education from IGI Global, while Credo Reference: Academic Core provides dozens of reference articles on minimum wage that offer multiple subject lenses through which to view the topic.


We should probably talk about William Shakespeare at some point. That is because, at some time or another, any college student studying literature, drama, history, or art will eventually want to talk about William Shakespeare. Our yearly Films On Demand trends confirm that, bringing “The Bard” in at #6.

You want Shakespeare? Films On Demand has your Shakespeare, with full-length plays, criticism, and historical documentaries about the playwright and plays. We have so much Shakespeare content that students and faculty flock back year after year to use our content in their courses and research.

"Hamlet" on Films On Demand


“Autism” is #8 on our Films On Demand list this year. This term shows up fairly regularly among the top researched subjects. As more and more children become diagnosed with autism, the need grows for more professionals who can help people who are on the spectrum. Films On Demand has a number of documentary films on this extremely relevant topic. 

"Autism" on Films On Demand

Films On Demand features short educational videos like True to Life Production’s film Autism as well as offering dramatic representations such as HBO’s Temple Grandin.


“Nutrition” comes in at #7 on the Credo search results, and is one of the few positive topics on the list! It serves as a ray of sunshine in an otherwise fraught list of debates and challenges. 

Credo Reference: Academic Core has three full-text titles to keep your students healthy this year—or at least to help them research how to keep healthy when it comes to the food they put in their bodies.

"nutrition" search results on Credo Reference

We also offer a Food, Drink, and Nutrition Essentials Collection that can be subscribed to or purchased in addition to your core collection.

Artificial Intelligence

“Artificial Intelligence” rounds out the Films On Demand top 10 this year, and I was very tempted to have ChatGPT write this paragraph, but I figured I know more about the specifics of Films On Demand than it does.

ChatGPT being asked what it knows about Films On Demand

ChatGPT's answer to the question "Do you know anything about Films On Demand from Infobase?"

I take that back. But don’t just take ChatGPT’s word for it! Learn more about Films On Demand here.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Every once in a while you get a one-off event in your search trends. Some event happens that is so out of the ordinary or difficult to explain (at first) that everyone is talking about it, and everyone is searching for content on it. During the past school year, that happened when, over a span of a few weeks, much of the country was curious about the “unmanned aerial vehicles” that seemed to be flying over the North American continent. How much information did Credo Reference have on that specific series of events? Not much, to be honest. But we do have content on unmanned aerial vehicles in general.  Boy, do we! All of the books below can be purchased perpetually to live on your Credo Reference platform, for when the next time unmanned aerial vehicles are discovered overhead.

books on unmanned military vehicles on Credo Reference

What Is Credo Reference?

Named a “Must-Have Database” by Library Journal in 2020, Credo Reference enhances the research experience through authoritative reference content and a one-stop exploratory search platform that drives usage of all trusted library resources. The user-friendly interface is ideal for students starting their research or learning about the research process during information literacy instruction. With hundreds of searchable, full-text titles from the world’s foremost publishers, Credo Reference covers every major subject.

What Is Films On Demand?

Films On Demand is a multidisciplinary, research-focused streaming video service providing unlimited access to thousands of videos, all carefully curated with a single guiding principle: provide every academic department on campus with the most essential video content for their field of study. At Films On Demand, we know that content matters. Our video library has been assembled not just with a focus on volume, but also with a discerning eye for quality and relevance. Plus, Films On Demand‘s platform provides users with the content, tools, speed, and performance that today’s online experience demands.

Curious? Don’t take our word for it—take a FREE TRIAL of Credo Reference: Academic Core and the Films On Demand: Master Academic Package today!

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