Course Info:

HUMAN DEVEL & FAMILY STUDIES 363 (Develp: Adolescence-Old Age)
Doe, Jane
Fall 2006-2007 LEC 005 MWF 01:20 PM to 02:10 PM

Library Contacts:

John Doe, Steenbock Library, fake email 265-5555

John Doe

Library Course Materials:


Search Strategy Tips
Step 1. Express your topic in the form of a question.

Instead of saying you're doing a paper on 'kids and tv', your topic might be expressed as

How does violence on television affect children ?

If you are having trouble forming a question, you may want to find a respected journal where your topic is written about and review some of the article titles and abstracts. These journal articles are often framed around a specific question in your discipline.

Step 2. Choose effective keywords and synonymous terms. Short phrases may also be used.
What are the important ideas/concepts? To avoid missing important articles, think of terms commonly used that mean the same as the words you've used. Different authors often use different terms to refer to the same thing.

  If one is available, explore the thesaurus for the database. A thesaurus can suggest terms and retrieve results on your concept without typing in all the synonyms for a keyword.


Step 3. Type the keywords into the database. Save time by using truncation for variant word endings. (usually it's a *, but ?, :, or ! are also used)

What To Do If You Get Too Many Records | See Quick Clip
 What it does How to
 Limit to recent year(s).  Easily eliminates older material Usually a pulldown menu or box on main search page.
Require one or more keywords to be in the article title. Makes keyword a major focus of the article Usually in a pulldown next to search box. Sometimes a checkbox on main search page. See 'Help' or Quickguide for more information.
Use proximity operators (near, adjacency)  to require keywords are close together. Terms have more relevance to each other because they are closer together. Operators vary. Usually typed into search strategy, for example: held back near3 kindergarten. (within 3 words) See 'Help' or Quickguide for more information.

What To Do If You Get Too Few Records | See Quick Clip
What it does  How to 
 Include more synonymous terms.  Makes search broader Find more keywords by looking at results and OR them together. Put ( ) around OR'd terms that mean the same. 
 Separate phrases. Combining the words with AND or Proximity Operators allows for words to come between the phrase or reverse the order of the words. school AND readiness (instead of 'school readiness') retrieves 'school readiness' as well as 'readiness for school'.
 Use truncation. By truncating a word, the database will search for all variations of the word's root. See the example above in Basic Search Strategy
 Choose a different database. Switches search to another set of journals that may cover your topic better. More databases
last updated: August 7, 2006