Searching

The hardest part of searching is figuring out which keywords will get you the sources you need. There are a few general rules to keep in mind when searching library resources / databases:

  • The more you put in the search box, the less you’ll get back

  • more words = fewer articles / fewer words = more articles
  • You don’t need to include words like: a, an, the, der, la, los, etc.

  • Databases search for the exact thing you typed into the search box (unlike Google, they won’t correct a misspelling)

  • If your search doesn’t work, check your spelling before trying a new search.

  • You will have to try more than one search (and you should try more than one database) to get the best sources for your assignment

  • Try the same search in different databases and you’ll see different sources in each one.

Search Strategies

There are 3 search strategies that every student should know:

  1. How to search for a complex topic
  2. How to search for a complex idea
  3. How to search for multiple ideas/keywords at once

View the images below to learn more about these strategies, including when and how to use them.

 

 

 
 

1) How to Search for a Complex Topic:

Use AND to search for a complex topic, or to “search by force”

Adding AND to a search forces a database to find only those which contain all of your keywords eg. accounting AND computers AND business.

TIP: Use AND when you get too many results


 

 

 
 

1) How to Search for a Complex Topic:

Use OR to search for a complex topic, or to “search by force”
Adding OR to a search allows a database to help you you determine which keyboard or topics is best by searching for both
eg. Accounting or Marketing
TIP: Use OR when you don’t get enough results / want more results


acct-or-marketing

 

 

 
 

1) How to Search for a Complex Topic:

Use NOT to search for a complex topic, or to “search by force”

networking-not-comp
 

 

 
 

2) How to Search for a Complex Idea:

Use ” ” to search for a complex idea
Using quotation marks forces a database to find items that contain the exact phrase, or words in the exact order you typed
e.g. “global health”
TIP: Use ” ” when you need your words to stay in a specific order

parenthesis-search
 

 

 
 

2) How to Search for a Complex Idea:

Use ( ) to search for a complex idea
Use parenthesis to give order to a complicated search
e.g. (growth or height) AND age
TIP: Use () to keep you OR’s together

mrkt-or-networking
 

 

 
 

3) How to Search Multiple Ideas or Keyords at Once:

Use * ? ! (a wildcard) to search multiple ideas / keywords at once

Using a wildcard symbol tells a database that you want to see all possible variations of your keywords / idea
e.g. president* This is actually search for:
president, presidents, president’s, presidential, presidentialism, presidentialisation, etc.
TIP: Use */? / ! when you aren’t sure what the best keyword wil be

bank

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