Searching Techniques

Step by step Instructions

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

2. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) are command words that are used 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 search string examples:

petroleum AND refining AND process*

(petroleum OR crude oil) AND extraction

(asphalt OR bitumen) AND pavement

"oil sands" AND Alberta AND pipeline*

3. Use brackets to group synonyms.

4. Make sure to enclose phrases with quotation marks to keep words together, Example: "oil sands" 

5. 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

6. Begin searching for material with the Omni, the library's main search box to find books, articles and many other sources on your topic. Remember to filter your search by content type for each new search in order to find a variety of material.

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

  • Peer-reviewed journals
  • Articles
  • Subject (optional)

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

  • Print physical item
  • Books

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

10. If you need more help use the Omni Search Tips guide

Content last reviewed: June 25, 2020