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General Search Strategies
- Create a search statement using keywords
- Use bibliographic databases appropriate to your topic. Checking more than one can be very useful to pick up unique titles.
- Use keywords and controlled languages
- Use Boolean searching
- Change approaches as necessary—gathering information is not a direct process
- Continue to identify applicable keywords and controlled vocabulary to search in the selected database(s) and other resources
Ask A Librarian for help with additional questions!
- When brainstorming keywords to search by, think of terms that are closely related to your topic, or terms you might use when discussing your topic with a colleague such as jargon, synonyms, and abbreviations.
- "Search Options" allows you to limit your initial search by publication date, full-text results, scholarly (peer reviewed) journals, publication type, and more.
- Under "Search Options," set the "Search Mode" to Boolean/phrase, all search terms, some search terms, or SmartText searching.
- Use Boolean operators to limit, broaden, or eliminate terms from your search:
- AND limits search results, finding articles with both terms
- OR broadens results, finding articles with either term
- NOT eliminates terms from the results, finding articles with one term but not the other
- Use truncation and wildcards to broaden your search:
- Add a question mark (?) to replace one character in a word
- Add a pound symbol (#) to search for a word with an alternate spelling of a single character
- Add an asterisk (*) after the stem of a word to find all its other possible endings.
- Use quotation marks around words to search for an exact phrase.