Search Techniques

Changes to Library services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

1. Select keyword search terms for your topic

  • Choose words that represent the key concepts of your research topic or question
  • Sample: How can energy efficiency measures improve the campus living environment?

2. Create a search string using Boolean command words, AND, OR

  • Sample: "energy efficiency" AND (university OR college) AND campus AND environment*

  •   --> think of synonyms for each concept
  •   --> use AND command to search multiple ideas and phrases
  •   --> use brackets with OR command to group synonyms
  •   --> use truncation symbol * (asterisk) to replace word endings or variant spellings
  •   --> use quotation marks to ensure that words are searched together as a phrase

3. Select a Database from the subject-specific databases for Environmental Studies

4. Use database filters - to obtain high quality, academic literature, remember to refine your search by selecting the following filters:

  • Available Online
  • Articles
  • Subject (on your specific topic)
  • Refine date range to 2010-2020

Tip 1: Filter your search to find scholarly journal articles. Many sources are published in different formats and written for specific audiences and do not have solid authority as with peer reviewed literature.

Tip 2: Check the bibliographies of journal articles to find additional relevant sources.

Tip 3: If you are unsure if a journal is peer reviewed, check Ulrichsweb. It is the definitive source that lets you know what type of journal you are using by 'content type'.

Content last reviewed: July 29, 2020