Searching Techniques

Changes to Library services during the COVID-19 service disruption.

Step by step Instructions

1. Identify the main concepts of your research topic and brainstorm possible keywords.

2. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) to combine concepts and enhance your search. By using AND, you are narrowing your search and by using OR to connect synonyms, you are expanding your search. Here are a few examples:

 "comparative urbanism"

"mega projects" AND (Beijing OR Barcelona OR Mexico OR Detroit OR Toronto OR Mumbai)

(global OR local) AND connection*

"market led displacement"

displacement AND city planning

(class OR racial) AND conflict 

"rust belt"

3. Make sure to enclose phrase searches with quotation marks. Example: "community development"

4. Use the truncation (or stemming) to broaden your search. The asterisk * at the end of a root word will search various word endings. Example: Canad* = Canada's, Canadian | wom*n = women, woman

5. Begin searching for material with Omni, the library's main search box to find books and other sources on your topic. Remember to filter your search by content type for each new search.

6. Here are the filters to use for finding peer-reviewed journals:

  • Peer-reviewed journals
  • Articles
  • Subject

7. Here are the filters to use for finding books:

  • Available Online
  • Books

8. Use Virtual Browse at bottom of search results screen to browse books

Content last reviewed: March 27, 2020