Databases use keyword searching. Identify the keywords of your topic and enter those in the search box.
A big number of search results isn’t necessarily a good thing. Ultimately, you want to be able to look at ALL of your search results. A reasonable number is under 100. If you have more than that, here are some ways you can focus or narrow your search results:
Publication date. If your writing about a current issue, make sure that you are using recent information. You can limit to a certain date range in all of the research databases.
Add a search term. Using the term AND helps to narrow your results. If your initial search is very broad think of another term that would help focus your search.
Full-text only. By selecting full-text only you are limiting your search results to articles that you can access in full-text through our library. The disadvantage of this is you are eliminating other research that may be relevant to your topic and available through our inter-library loan service.
Peer-reviewed. Many of our databases have content that is not peer-reviewed. Make sure that you select peer-reviewed and scholarly journals.
Use quotation marks to keep words together in your search. This only works with a phrase, not a full sentence.
Use an asterisk * at the end of a word to tell the database to retrieve any variation of that word.
Think of synonyms for your search terms and then use the word OR to tell the database to bring back either terms. This broadens your search results and may help you discover other relevant research on your topic.