Skip to Main Content

Prof. Weinstock - English 101 - The Changing American Family: Search Strategies

Make Searching Easier

We want to help you become a better searcher. Keywords are only the beginning. Knowing how your favorite database uses the terms you put into the search box may make all the difference in your being able to find what you need quickly and effectively.

Start Here

 Notable tips:

  • ALWAYS access databases and search engines (including Google Scholar) through the WCC Library pages. This links your computer to the WCC databases to which you have FREE access and for which you've already paid
  • When the initial search box offers a drop-down menu of choices, it is generally what other folks have tried - more or less successfully (exceptions appear within databases)
  • Double and triple check your terms and search strategies - especially when you retrieve unexpected results
  • Always:
    • Use keywords for non-indexed databases and search engines
    • Use a combination of keywords and subject headings when searching indexed databases

Advanced Search

 Most databases offer Advanced Search options. These can appear in drop-down menus, as links from a navigation menu, or even as a sliding scale (e.g, for dates). These options may only appear after a search is made or on a separate web page. Possibilities include:

  • Additional search fields (e.g., in addition to title and author, subject, ISSN, grant number, etc.)
  • Additional search options (e.g. limit or narrow a search, Boolean terms and proximity indicators, etc.)
  • Option to combine multiple searches (e.g. #1 and #4)*

*Recommended: When developing complex searches in databases that offer the option to combine searches:

  1. Search with the first concept until you have the appropriate keywords and subject terms for the database
  2. Move to the second concept, then the third concept ...
  3. Finally, combine the concept searches using the history (or related) option under the advanced search

More Tips

There is no one 'correct' search word to use. Different keywords will give you more results.

Think of words that mean the same or something similar as your topic and try those words too. 

  • E.g. Social Networks, Social Media, Facebook, Twitter 

You may need to broaden or narrow your search terms depending on your results :

  • Search harassment (broader) instead of cyberbullying; or Facebook (narrower) instead of social media

Use the asterisk * to truncate words and widen your search. network* will search for network, networks and networking.

Use quotation marks to keep phrases together: e.g. "Social Media" 

  • e.g.  "Social Media" AND Emotion* AND Friend* or Facebook* AND Self-Disclosure AND Privacy
  • "Social Networking" AND Privacy AND Interpersonal Relations

Try your search terms in different combinations to get the greatest number of results.


Search Strategies

Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence!

Westchester Community College provides accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community. We are committed to student success, academic excellence, workforce development, economic development and lifelong learning.

Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

75 Grasslands Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
Tel: (914) 606-6600