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Parks, Recreation, Sport & Tourism, Advanced Guide

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

Look Here First!

Database Search Tips

Research 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 essential key words and connect with AND,  e.g., "What factors affect the decision to shop at farmers' markets?”    becomes    decision AND farmers markets

-Brainstorm synonyms and connect with OR, e.g.,   decision OR choice OR attitude OR preference

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 PR&T, maybe Rural Sociology, Agriculture, Business, Education or Health & Medicine would be useful categories. 


-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 


-Put quotes around a term that’s a phrase to keep the words together, e.g. “event planning”    “experience economy”


-If applicable, limit your search to “Academic Journals” or “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals”

Additional Resources

Finding the TEXT of articles

Some databases, but not most, have direct links to articles.  For most databases you will need to look for the linker button,

You will then have three options:

  1. Click to go right to the article text online
  2. Check MERLIN for paper copies if we don't have it online
  3. Request thru Interlibrary Loan

If we don't have an article online or in print in the library, you can order it via Interlibrary Loan Service.  In most cases you will receive your article online via your MU e-mail account within 3 days.  As long as you plan ahead and don't wait until the last minute, you should get your article in plenty of time for your research project. There is no charge for this service.