When searching, try to identify the main topics. Use no more than 3-4 words or phrases.
For example, you'd like to find articles on the effects of air pollution on children in the United States.
See the table below for more ideas on how to refine this search!
Keywords not working?
Find synonyms (similar words):
Read subject headings or abstracts of the things you do find – what words are they using?
Too many results?
Try AND: combines different terms when both must be present
Suicide AND Adolescents
Suicide AND Adolescents AND Prevention
Air pollution AND effects AND children AND United States
Not enough results?
Use OR: combines terms when at least one must be present
Teenager OR youth OR adolescent
Mick Jagger OR Rolling Stones
theater OR theatre
Children or pediatric
Getting the wrong results?
Use NOT (or – sign in Google): Eliminates terms from a search
Apple NOT fruit (-fruit)
Java NOT coffee (-coffee)
Pollution NOT groundwater
Looking for a phrase?
Add quotation marks
“title of book/song/article/movie”
“First and Last Name”
Add an asterisk (*) to look for all endings for the root of a word
Educat* looks for Educator, Educators, Education, Educational
Child* looks for Children
AND combines different terms when both must be present. Use AND to narrow a search.
OR combines terms when at least one must be present. Use OR to broaden a search.
NOT eliminates terms from a search. Use NOT when
you want to exclude all records that contain a certain term.