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Step 1: Plan Your Search
1. Identify what you're searching for
- What is your topic?
- What kinds of sources can you use?
- Where can you find these sources?
2. Find your search terms
- What keywords can be used to best describe your topic?
- Is there specialized language or abbreviations that should/could be used?
General Search Tips
- Don’t type questions into the search box. Databases are not Google and don’t work the same way
- Don’t be afraid of doing multiple searches; it might take a while to come up with the right combination of search terms.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The librarians are available to help.
Step 2: What is a Boolean Search?
A "Boolean Search" is a type of search used in the databases to better specify what you're looking for
- Uses operators: AND, OR, NOT
- Can limit or broaden your search
- While useful, Boolean is not always necessary when using the databases
Step 3: I Searched, Now What?
1. Too many or too few results?
- Limit further or broaden your search
2. How relevant are your results?
- Change search terms/combinations
- If there is at least 1 relevant result, look for subject headings to utilize in another search
Step 4: After Finding Relevant Results
1. Save the results you find--you might not be able to get back to them
- Download PDFs and relevant article info
- Copy and paste HTML articles
2. Utilize the database's citation feature
- Not always correct, but it's a good starting point
3. Copy the permalink or persistent link of the article
- Doesn't always work, but it's often a useful way to get back to the article at a later time