Searching Techniques

Step by step Searching Instructions on Omni

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

2. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine concepts and enhance your search. They must be in capital letters to be recognized by Omni. By using AND, you are narrowing your search and by using OR to connect synonyms, you are expanding your search and using NOT excludes a specific word. Here are a few sample searches:

  • "temperature extremes" AND predictability --> quotation marks keeps phrases together; AND narrows your search
  • pollution OR deforestation --> OR expands your search
  • ozone AND remote sensing NOT depletion --> NOT excludes words
  • Antarctic AND (ozone layer OR ozonosphere) --> parentheses determines the order of the search. Information within parentheses is read first and the terms outside are read next.

3. Make sure to enclose your search for phrases with quotation marks. Example: "climate change"

4. Use the truncation (or stemming, wildcarding) technique to broaden your search. The asterisk * at the end of a root word will search various word endings. Example: environment* = environments, environmental, environmentalist, environmentalism. The question mark ? will perform a single wildcard search. For example, type minerali?ation to find mineralization or mineralisation.

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

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

  • Scholarly & Peer review
  • Journal article
  • Subject
Content last reviewed: February 1, 2021