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ENGL 1012: In The News: Tips for Searching

Search Tips

While Google understands natural language searches, most library databases don't. It is good to get into the habit of setting up your searches in terms of keywords, and linking them together using AND. 

For example, if you're doing research about the Internet privacy, then a basic search could be:

   internet AND privacy 

It is also important to think about synonyms, alternate terms, and even variations in spelling. In this case, use OR to link your terms together.

For example:

   internet  OR social media 

  Privacy AND (internet  OR social media) 

It is important to brainstorm all the different keywords and phrases that might apply to your topic.  This will allow you to try a number of different searches until you get the most relevant results, and will help you be comprehensive in your searching. For example, if you're doing research about the history of your local bodega, what others terms or phrases might apply?

For example:

   bodega, corner store, general store, neighborhood market, local store, etc.

So some sample searches could be:

   bodega AND history

   (bodega OR "corner store" OR "general store") AND history


Tips for searches: Don’t use full sentences or questions

                             Break your topic down into keywords and phrases

                             Brainstorm all of the different keywords and phrases that might be relevant to your topic 

                             Link keywords together with AND

                             Use OR for synonyms or alternate terms

                             Use quotes to search for an exact phrase (e.g. "soca music")