Database Search Tips

Good search results come from good searches!

Don’t just type your research question into the database or catalog search box. Only enter the most important terms (called keywords) in your research topic. Let’s say, for example, that your research question is, “Does stress contribute to depression?” The keywords for this search would be stress and depression.

Advanced Search Tips

  • Use an asterisk(*) to search for all variants of a word. Ex: therap* = therapy, therapeutic
  • Put phrases in quotes. Ex: “mental illness”
  • Use OR (in all capital letters) and parentheses () to expand your search, often by including synonymous search terms in a single search. Ex: (depression OR anxiety)
  • Use AND (in all capital letters) to narrow your search to a specific topic. Ex: sleep AND stress
  • Use the search limiters that most databases provide to get the results you need: in Academic Search Premier, for example, you can check to get only articles that are full text or scholarly (peer reviewed). You can also use the date slider to retrieve results from a specific date range.

full text check box


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