Research Process

Advanced Searching Tips

  • Facets: Most databases will allow you to filter your results using "facets" (sometimes called limiters or refiners). Using facets can help to cut down the number of results you get from a search.
    • These are the options (normally located on the right hand side) that allow you to only display results that meet certain criteria such as peer-review, full-text, year of publication, etc. 
  • Bibliography Scanning: When you find an article you like, look at the bibliography. There is a good chance that you'll find other articles that would be helpful to your research.
  • Find Alternate Keywords: Often databases will list the keywords or subjects that are associated with the article you find. You can sometimes find this information in the abstract of the article as well. 
  • AND, OR, NOT:Use of database operators (AND, OR, NOT) can sometimes be useful to help tie together or separate search terms.
    • Use AND to only find articles that contain both of the keywords you're looking for.
    • Use OR to search for articles that use either one. 
    • Use NOT to eliminate a search term from your search. 
  • Truncation and Wildcards: Root words can have multiple endings Example: sun = suns, sunshine, sunny, sunlight. Likewise there are some words that are spelled differently, but mean the same thing.  Example:  color, colour

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