Research Strategies

Changes to Library services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

7 Search Strategies Every Student Need to Utilize

To get the best search results you must determine what you are looking for and what terms should be searched. These search techniques are similar for all electronic resources, whether you are using library databases or commercial databases.

1. Apply Quotation Marks
   
Also known as a string search, this is the best way to limit search results in a database.
    Example:  "Gilman, Charlotte Perkins"   or "Charlotte Perkins Gilman"

2. Search for Synonyms
    
Consult a Thesaurus to find English synonyms.
     Example: madness = insanity or lunacy

3. Use the Asterisk Symbol
    
Use truncation and a wildcard character when you want to allow for several spellings or variations on a word.
     Example (Truncation): art*   for art, arts, artistic, etc.
     Example (Wildcard): colo?r returns color (American spelling) and colour (British/Canadian spelling)

4.  Remember Boolean "AND"
    
The Boolean AND command narrows your search by returning documents that contain all the keywords you
     enter. Use AND when the concepts are not related. This narrows the search as both of those words must be
     in the information that is being returned. Always use CAPS when typing Boolean operators in your search
     statements.
     Example: power AND women

5. Try Boolean "OR"
    
The Boolean OR expands your search results.  The more keywords you enter, the more documents you will
     retrieve. Use OR when the concepts are similar, and it does not matter which word is found in the
     information that is being returned. Always use CAPS when typing Boolean operators in your search
     statements.
     Example: university OR higher education OR college

6. Use Boolean "NOT"
    The Boolean NOT find pages including only the first term and excludes the second term.
    Example: Canadian NOT british

7. Use parentheses
     In Boolean searches, always enclose OR statements in parenthesis.
     Example: (composition OR writing)   

For more information, consult this Help guide: Keyword and Advanced Keyword Searching.
 

 

Primary and Secondary Sources
The actual work of art or text is the primary source document. To find and read novels, short-stories, plays, etc. through Omni, select Advanced Search. Under, Material Type, choose Books from the drop-down menu and type in title of the work in the search box.

 

Primary v. Secondary Sources
Primary Sources Secondary Sources
Short Story Biography of Author
Poem Criticism
Play Guides
Novel Journal Article
  Plot Summary or Overview
  Reviews
Content last reviewed: April 17, 2020