To craft an effective search, keep these tricks in mind:
Boolean Searching: A search technique that uses Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) to limit or widen your search.
Quotation Marks: If you want to search for a phrase (like "costume design" or "musical theater"), put quotation marks around it to keep your terms together. Using quotation marks will only retrieve results that include your terms in the exact order you specified.
In most databases, you'll see a menu of options to the left of your search results that will let you further narrow your search. You can use these options to limit your results by publication date, content type (like performance reviews, academic journals, or magazines), and language, among others. Some databases will even let you check a box to say that you only want results from peer-reviewed journals (for more on peer-review and evaluating scholarly sources, check out the Is It Scholarly? tab of this guide).
If you aren't getting good results, try to broaden your search. Once you find a promising article or two, see what key words or subjects are used to classify that article and try using those in a new search to find similar materials.