5.4 Tips for Searching Library Resources


  1. Use broader terms when searching for books (e.g. genetic engineering); use narrower terms for articles (e.g. genetically modified crops)
  2. Choose an appropriate search field (Subject, Abstract, Document Text, Author, etc.) for each search term. Choosing the wrong field may return irrelevant results or none at all.
  3. Use Advanced Search as it has better search capabilities to refine your search for more relevant results.
  4. Use advanced search techniques, such as Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), truncation (*), and phrase search (" "), etc. (See Chapter 7 for explanations on these techniques)
  5. Pick up new subject terms or keywords from the search results and use them for new searches.
  6. Each research database covers different areas; read the descriptions and choose one that is most related to your topic.
  7. When searching for articles, limit your search to only "Full-text" and "scholarly journal" if you need an expert article.
  8. When you find a good scholarly article that meets your needs, check the bibliographies listed under that article for related sources; some databases have a "Find Similar Articles" link that links you to more articles on that topic.
  9. Be flexible, try different databases and change your search strategy if you can't find appropriate material for your topic.
  10. Don't forget to use the embedded citation tools to get the citation of the article you plan on using.

Next Chapter: 6. Scholarly Journals