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GNST 4350: Interdisciplinary Project: 4. Search Strategies

This guide is specific to completing the Project Outline, Project Research (Problem and Audience), and Project Research (Format and Minors) steps of the GNST 4350 Interdisciplinary Project.

Create a Search String

Step 4: Create a Search String

Once you have your keywords, you need to combine them in a way the Start Your Research search will understand.  You can...

  • put Boolean operators between your search terms (see box below left to decide which to use)
  • use the other search tools (see the box below right to see how to use them)

Create a Search String

Database searching is NOT like Google - you have to combine your keywords to make a search string the database understands.  You can do this with Boolean operators:

Use Boolean searching. These link keywords and phrases. It's only three little words to remember.

  • And - endangered AND birds - returns only those articles that have BOTH terms.
  • Or - endangered OR birds - returns all articles that have either the term endangered or the term bird.
  • Not - endangered NOT birds - returns articles that has the term endangered, as long as the articles do not have the term bird.

You can use these in endless combinations to specify the kinds of items you get in your result list.

Other Search Tricks

USE THESE TRICKS to search in databases, catalogs, and on the web. 

You can use these within the Boolean search string you created.

  1. Search by keywords - the most important words only.
  2. Get less results - use quotation marks to search for phrases - "endangered birds".
  3. Get more results - use truncation - type creat* for results that include create, creating, creators, creation, creatures, etc.

Your search string can look like this:   "endangered birds" AND ddt

When getting too many results, use the database's built-in "Refine Results" feature in the left hand column...and limit by material type, date, language, etc.