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Introduction to Library Resources: Search Tips

This guide will teach you how to find credible and reliable sources for your research projects.

Finding Too Much? Narrow Your Search

AND (finds fewer)

Use the boolean operator AND to find articles with ALL of the words, for example, Facebook AND privacy. Venn diagram emphasizing the overlap between two search terms such as Facebook and privacy

Subject Searching

Searches for words only in the subject field.

There is a line from Subject Search to Subject headings because it only searches subjects not other fields such as author, title, abstract, or text.

Phrase Searching

Search for two or more words as a phrase by using quotation marks, for example, "drunk driving."

Search Process

Brainstorm

Before you search or if you get stuck while searching, use a thesaurus to find different words to express your ideas.

Try Your Search

Try to find one or two good articles. "Steal" words that appear in the best articles to help you find more.

Revise Your Search

Find too many articles? Not enough articles? Use the search strategies on this page to help you find better articles.

Can't Find Enough? Broaden Your Search

OR (gets more)

Use the boolean operator OR to find articles with ANY of the words, for example, colleges OR universities. Venn diagram with both circles shading showing the search terms colleges and universities.

Keyword Searching

Searches for words anywhere in the record.

There is a line from Keyword Search to author, title, abstract, or text.

Truncation

Put an asterisk at the word stem to search for variations of a word, for example, teen* finds teen, teens, teenage, teenager, teenagers.