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Online Class Library Research Guide: Search

English 1000

Before You Start...

Use the following tips to develop a successful search strategy:

1.  Have a topic.
Many college students deal with eating disorder issues

2.  Identify the main concepts.    
College students
Eating disorders

3.  Think of other terms or synonyms for the main concepts.
College students - university students, freshman, sophomore, junior, senior
Eating disorders
-  anorexia, pica, bulimia

4.  Determine what types of sources you want to use.
Journal Articles
Magazine Articles

Video: Search Smarter, Search Faster

Combine the Main Concepts with AND / OR

Use AND/OR (Boolean Operators) to combine concepts.  These strategies are universal - you can use them in any databases, catalogs, or search engines (even Google!).

AND  - narrows the search
   College Student AND Eating Disorder

   AND - gets info when both concepts are present

 College Student AND Eating Disorder

OR - broadens the search
   College student OR Freshman OR Junior

   OR - gets info if any of the concepts are present

College Student OR Freshman

Group synonyms together using parenthesis.
     (eating disorder OR anorexia) AND (college student OR Freshman OR Sophomore OR Junior OR Senior)

Interactive Tool: Search Strategy Builder

The Search Strategy Builder helps you build a search string that you can use in any database, catalog, or search engine.

Searching Tips

Truncation  - finds words starting with the word stem you have typed.   Most common truncation symbol is the asterisk *
      obes* = obese, obesity
      child* = child, childhood, childlike, children

Exact Phrase - use quotation marks for exact phrase(s)
       "high fructose corn syrup"

Wildcard - used to substitute letters inside a word
      wom?n = woman OR women
      colo?r = color OR colour

Types of Searching

Keyword Searching - a broad search where you are looking for your search terms in any part of an article or book record.
This search is the default for most databases and catalogs.

Subject Searching - a precise search using standardized subject terms in library catalogs and databases.

Field Searching - you search specifically in the title, the abstract (summary), the author field, etc. 
Most databases have pull down menus that let you select which field you want to search.