Module III – Search Strategies

It is very important to be able to effectively search for the information you need.  Many databases contain millions of items or articles.   It is wise to learn how to find exactly what you need from these databases.

There are some basic search strategies that apply to many different types of resources.  Whether you are searching for books, or magazines, or Internet documents these basic search strategies may apply:

  1. Use synonyms to broaden your search:  Car, cars, autos, automobiles, vehicles
  2. Use root or stem searching. Search for any instance of the root word.  Most databases use an asterisk to show that any characters are allowed.  For example, computer* will find computer, computers, computerize, computerization, etc.
  3. Use quotes to keep phrases together.  “social networking”
  4. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)  to get the most out of your search terms.  (car or cars or automobile) and (fuel or energy) and (hybrid or electric*)
  5. Make use of the variety of fields that make up the records.  For example, search in title field only, or in the subject field only

Use the links below for specific search strategies:

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