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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tips for Searching Article Databases: Refine and Repeat Search Statements

Finding the right information isn't just luck. Creating a strategy is essential for successful search results. Knowledge about information resources and search strategies will produce meaningful search results, even when you are not familiar with the topi

Refine and Repeat Search Statements

As searches are performed and familiarity with the topic and database increase, new keywords will become obvious. These words will be in titles, bibliographic subject words, abstracts, and the full-text of the publication. It is important to use these words advantageously. The search process is not direct, so as these words become available, refine the search process to include them. This may also affect the topic statement/question. There might not be enough information on the intended topic, but there are likely articles on a similar, tangential topic. Change your search strategy as necessary to incorporate new words. 


What now?

Full-text articles are available for many titles in online databases, and require no further searching. If only an article citation/abstract is probided, you will need to pursue locating the item locally in the UIUC Online Journals and Databases or Library Catalog, or it may be requested through the UIUC Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery. 

More Guides to Help with Research

Other Sources of Help

If you need more help, the manuals for the electronic databases are kept online and at our handouts rack, along with other helpful materials. The single most useful thing you can do, however, is to Ask A Librarian for help. In addition to giving you general help with the systems, a librarian can help you navigate advanced searching capabilities beyond the controlled vocabulary.