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CI 5313_CI 5314 Human Growth and Development: Search Techniques

This guide was created for Dr. Langerock's classes CI 5313 and CI 5314.


1.  Identify the main concepts of your topic or thesis.

2.  Brainstorm additional keywords.

3.  Use Search Techniques to return the most relevant items.

4.  If you are still not getting the results you want, revise your search with additional Search Techniques.


Additional Search Techniques

If you are not getting the results you want try these search techniques:

For more relevant search results:

Use the database's subject terms for your concepts:  

  •      Look up terms in the database's thesaurus
  •      Check for subject terms in article records

To limit results:

Use the filters or limiters in the database to decrease the number of articles in your result list.

Most databases allow you to filter your results by selecting limiters such as Peer Reviewed, Publication Date, and Source Types.


Keyword Searching


If you were looking for articles on the following topic, "Do extracurricular activities affect academic achievement in high school students?" you would do the following search in a database:

Screen shot of the following database search in Education Source: "extracurricular activit" AND "academic achievement" AND "high school"


If you need articles that discuss a research study try adding the following keywords into your search string:

  • Survey
  • Research
  • Study
  • Method
  • Experiment


Search Tips

Five Database Search Commands
Phrase Searching:  Quotations are placed around a phrase. Phrase Searching Example:  "academic achievement" returns articles containing the exact phrase in the order it is typed.
Add concepts to your search string using the Boolean operator AND. Boolean Operator AND Example:  "academic achievement" AND "extracurricular activities" returns articles discussing both concepts.
Add alternate concepts to your search string using the Boolean operator OR. Boolean Operator OR Example:  "extracurricular activities" OR "after school programs" returns articles that only mention extracurricular activities or articles that only mention after school activities.
Truncation:  An asterisk truncates the term and commands the database to search for the term with any possible ending. Truncation Example:  instruct* returns articles containing instruct, instructor, instruction, instructing, etc.
Wildcard:  A letter is replaced with a question mark (?) within a word. Wildcard Example:  wom?n returns articles containing woman, women