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GNST 4300: Interdisciplinary Preparation: Search Strategies

Search Strategies

Below are tips and tricks to searching databases effectively.  For more information, see the guide for GNST 4350.

Introduction

Core Concepts: The main ideas of your research topic.

Keywords: Words that represent your core concepts.

  1. Isolate your core concepts.
  2. Brainstorm keywords that have meanings similar to your core concepts that you can use for searching.

Boolean Operators in Action: AND

Boolean Operators in Action: OR

Boolean Operators in Action: NOT

Core Concepts to Keywords

Question to keyword

Phrase searching

How To Search

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

  1. Search by keywords - 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.
  4. Get more or less results - use Boolean operators between keywords. (Use this link to see how to use them.)

Find something that's almost right?
Try using the database’s subject terms - usually listed under the article abstract.

Find too much stuff?
Use the database’s built in limiting features - usually on the left side of the screen - and limit by material type, date, full-text, scholarly, etc...