TOP TEN SEARCH TIPS -- applicable in almost all databases
All databases, including Google, are based on what is called "Boolean logic," using the connectors AND, OR, and to a much lesser extent, NOT. If you understand what a database is doing behind the scenes, it will help you devise a better search to find what you need.
Click here to see a YouTube video that illustrates Boolean logic.
-Break your research question into essentialkey words and connect with AND, e.g., "What is the impact of a CAFO on family farms?”becomes your search statement of CAFO ANDfamily farms
-Brainstorm synonyms and connect with OR, e.g., family farms ORsmall farms
-Don’t get stuck on one term if there are other ways of expressing it.
-Think about the best databases to use, based on the focus of your research.Besides Rural Sociology, maybe Agriculture, Environmental Studies, Women's & Gender Studies or Economics would be useful database categories to search.
-Use wild card/ truncation symbol (*) to get plurals and variant endings, e.g.,method*will find method, methods, methodology, methodologies, methodological
-Use “Advanced Search”for more control and flexibility.
- Limit to the abstract to help eliminate irrelevant results.
-Put quotes around a term that is a phrase to keep the words together, e.g. “diffusion of innovation”“sustainable development”
-If applicable, limit your search to “Academic Journals” or “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals”
-When you find a good article, always look at the works cited or reference list at the end to help identify other useful articles and books on the same topic.