The keywords you use can make or break your search. Sometimes you'll need to try different terms, sometimes you'l need to narrow or broaden your research topic.
- Taking notes as you search can help you remember what you've tried
- When you find an article that is on topic, note what the Subject or Keyword terms are in the record. This a great way to find synonyms to search with
- Look at the Search Tips tab of this guide to learn how to build better search queries
If you're not finding anything:
- Make sure you're spelling everything correctly
- Make sure you're not using whole sentences. For example, don't search for What is the impact of the Internet on intellectual property? just search for "intelectual property" internet
- Try to come up with some other terms you can use. For example, if internet isn't getting enough results, try internet OR web
If you're finding too much:
- You might need to narrow your search by adding terms. For example, instead of just government surveillance try searching for government surveillance "united states" or government surveillance internet
If you're not finding enough:
- Try to come up with some other terms you can use. For example, if "civil liberties" isn't getting enough results, try privacy
- Try to use truncation with your terms. For example, search "civil libert*" to get records with both "civil liberties" and "civil liberty"
- Use the OR operator to search for synonyms. For example, search (illegal download* OR piracy)
- You might need to broaden your topic. For example, you probably won't be able to find information about how much money Beyonce - or any specific artist - loses because of illegal downloading, but you could research the estimated costs of piracy to the music industry