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
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
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 Sources||Secondary Sources|
|Short Story||Biography of Author|
|Plot Summary or Overview|