Research Strategies

WEB SEARCH RULES OF THUMB

  • Keep it simple
  • Less is more
  • Ignore Punctuation
  • Use web-friendly words (my head hurts vs. headache)
  • Use quotes (" ") for exact phrases. But quote wisely! A search of "Alexander Bell" will exclude pages with Alexander G. Bell.
  • Use unique words; the more unique, the more relevant the results
  • Don't worry about cases (ex. manhattan)
  • Put quotation marks around "the" and "and" when they are included in a title or are essential; otherwise google will leave them out
  • Use the ~ for "like term" (ex. ~flood will search floods, flooded, flooding)
  • Use - when you do not want to include something (ex. "Hurricane Sandy" -flood)


DATABASE SEARCH RULES OF THUMB

  • Keep it simple; learn to pay attention to subject headings
  • Use EBSCO Discovery most; it is your best friend
  • Know where the databases are located on the library website; use the Remote Access usernames and passwords when you are doing research off campus
  • Use left navigation to limit results to: full-text, peer reviewed, periodical, or other types of media. Know what these terms mean!
  • Adjust searches as you learn more