ENGE 2094: Create!: Ideation & Innovation: Advanced Searching

After you've done some basic searching, you'll likely want to develop more advanced search terms to find even more resources. Check out the information below for guidance on conducting effective searches. 

Developing Keywords

Search Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

While it's easy to search, Google Scholar will usually bring back far more results than you could ever look through. However, it can be a helpful supplement to the library resources described in this guide. To search it most effectively, use the advanced search statements you used in other databases. To learn how to connect Google Scholar to VT Libraries and increase your chances of finding the full text of items, check out the video below. 

Developing Effective Search Terms

Databases like to receive information in a particular way. Most databases will use something called Boolean operators, and you may notice these in drop-down boxes in the search interface. Here's a quick reminder on what these do. 

  • AND:  Tells the database that both items connected with AND need to be somewhere in the information about or full text of an item. AND narrows a search and retrieves fewer articles. This term is often used to join concepts in two or more separate boxes. 
  • OR:  Tells the database that any of the terms connected with OR is okay. It's often used with a single box to link synonyms. OR broadens a search and retrieves more articles. 
  • NOT:  excludes. Because NOT will exclude everything that comes after it, it should be used at the end of your search. 

Check out the video below, "From Keywords to Database," for more information on using these terms in a database.  

From Keywords to Database Search