Need help to develop a search strategy? Use our downloadable research plan worksheet.
State Your Topic as a Question
Too much information?
For example: beer and health and college students
Too little information?
For example: alcoholic beverages or beer or wine or liquor. Using truncation with search terms also broadens the search and increases the number of items you find.
The * is a common symbol used to replace any number of letters at the ends of words
Helps find singulars, plurals, and variant endings of words
Check each database's help pages to see which truncation symbol is used in that particular database
Example: vot* finds vote, votes, voter, voting, etc.
Most databases let you limit search results. Some limits include:
Date of Publication, etc
Phrases: " "
Enclose phrases in quotation marks when searching the Web or most databases
Phrase searching in individual databases may vary. Check the help pages in each database for additional information.
Example: "voter registration"
Example: "electoral college"