The results of your search will appear in a list ranked by relevance, but you can change how the results are listed by clicking on the down arrow next to Relevance.
1. Start by identifying the major concepts, themes, works, or authors that you want to research. These are your keywords. Only type your keywords into the search box -- don't type in an entire thesis statement or research question.
2. Most of the time, you'll either have too many search results to sort through, or too few to choose from. Use the following tips to expand or limit your search results as needed. These tips should work in most library databases. Some databases have additional or different tips you can try. When you're in a database, look for a link labeled "Help" or "Search Help" for information specific to that database.
|Too many results or a lot of irrelevant sources? Try this:|
|Add additional keywords - (ex: college AND stress AND academics)|
|Choose more specific search terms - (ex: hiking AND DeLand instead of hiking AND central Florida)|
|Search for a phrase - Add quotation marks around a phrase to search for the words in that order (ex: "south africa" instead of south africa)|
|Use search filters - limit by source type, date of publication, language, subject, & more|
|Choose a different database - select a database with a narrower scope of subject matter|
|Search by subject - search for your terms as a subject instead of as a keyword|
|Exclude words from your search results - (ex.travel NOT “time travel”)|
Didn't get enough search results? Try this:
|Use different keywords - choosing the right keywords is key. Try experimenting with different words. (ex: Movie OR cinema OR film OR motion picture)|
|Related topic - try looking for sources on a broader, related topic (ex: hiking AND central Florida instead of hiking AND DeLand)|
|Use fewer search terms - begin with 1 or 2 search terms that best represent your topic, then add more as needed. Avoid long phrases.|
|Use fewer search filters - avoid using any filters that are unnecessary|
|Choose a different database - select a database with a broader scope of subject matter|
|Use wildcard & truncation symbols *, #, ? - Allows you to search for multiple spellings of a term|
|When you’ve found one source, try this:|
|Use subject headings - does the database list any subject headings to your source? Click on these links to find more.|
|Look at the works cited list - browse your source’s reference list or bibliography to find additional sources on the same topic|
|Who’s cited this? - use Google Scholar or Web of Science to find sources that have cited your source since it was published|
|Search for the author's name - has the same author published additional material on the topic?|