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Library Research 101: Search Tools & Strategies

Searching as Strategic Exploration

Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.

--- ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Tutorial on Using Google Scholar

Remember to always evaluate what you find on the Surface Web when you are using search engines for research purposes.

Google Search Tip

Limit your search results to organizational or educational websites.

Add "site:.org" or "site:.edu" behind your search term

example: bird flu site:.org

Search by Document Type

Tips of Searching in Databases

1. Use "refine tools" and "search options"

2. follow the specific language (subject terms) used by different databases

3. Click "360 links" for checking the full-text

4. check reference list of articles

Focus Your Search

  • Use connectors AND, OR and NOT to combine search terms.
    • AND:
    • OR:
    • NOT:
  • Use truncation to search for variations of a word
    • Environment* will find environment, environmental, environmentalism, etc.
  • Use synonyms
  • Combine all of the search techniques
    • Example:
  • Check Thesaurus of the database to find relevant Subject Term(s) or Controlled Vocabulary.