Search Tips

Search Tips:

Good search results come from good searches!

A simple search with well-chosen keywords often works very well. But, if you are having trouble getting good results, try using these advanced search techniques.

  • Don’t use words like impact, advantages, disadvantages, pros/cons, benefits, or relationship in your search. These words appear in so many scholarly research articles they are useless as search terms.
  • Use an asterisk(*) to search for all variants of a word. Ex: chimp* = chimp, chimps, chimpanzee, chimpanzees
  • Put phrases in quotes. Ex: “endangered species,” “northern spotted owl”
  • Use OR (in all capital letters) and parentheses () to expand your search, often by including synonymous search terms in a single search. Ex: (wolf OR wolves)
  • Use AND (in all capital letters) to narrow your search. Ex: (wolf OR wolves) AND Oregon
  • You can combine any of these techniques in a single search, as in the example above.
  • Use the search limiters that most databases provide to get the results you need: in Academic Search Premier, for example, you can check a box to retrieve articles that are full text or scholarly (peer reviewed). You can also use the date slider to retrieve results from a specific date range. Almost all of the databases the Library has will provide you with some system-defined limiters.

full text check box


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