ENGE 1215 / 1216 Research Resources: Advanced Searching
From Keywords to Database Search
Keeping Track of Searches
It's really important to keep a record of the searches you do for a project to help save time and frustration. Keeping a record is particularly important for group work. The spreadsheet below can be used to keep track of your searches as well as other key information. The second page of the spreadsheet also contains an example. To use, follow the instructions to make a copy or download it as an Excel spreadsheet.
Rather than typing a full sentence or question into a search box, using Boolean operators can help you create an efficient and effective database search.
Try the Search Strategy Builder below, which will create searches out of keywords that you supply!
In order to use Boolean operators, you need to know:
- AND: both terms that you connect with AND must be somewhere in the bibliographic record for that record to be retrieved. AND narrows a search and retrieves fewer articles
- OR: only one of the search terms combined with OR is required for the bibliographic record t5o be retrieved. OR broadens a search and retrieves more articles
- NOT: excludes a particular subset, category, or term. NOT requires the presence of one search term and the exclusion of another.
Check out the video below for more information on building a search statement.
Truncation: A symbol, specific to the search interface, which allows the retrieval of all endings for the specified base word. An asterisk (*) isoften used. For example, child* would retrieve records with children, childish, and every other word that begins with the root word "child."
Wildcard: A symbol, specific to the search interface, which allows the retrieval of various spellings of a word. A question mark is often used. For example, wom?n would retrieve records with women or woman.
Search Strategy Builder
Search Strategy Builder
The Search Strategy Builder is a tool designed to teach you how to create a search string using Boolean logic. While it is not a database and is not designed to input a search, you should be able to cut and paste the results into the standard database search boxes.
Write out your research question or topic thesis as a sentence.
Search Strategy Builder created by University of Arizona Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-