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- Start with a specific topic & broaden or narrow as necessary
- Use different words/synonyms to describe your topic (different finding tools may use different words/phrases to describe your topic)
- Keep a list of keywords and phrases used in each database. When possible, print a copy of your search history from each database
- Check the database thesaurus or subject terms to find the terms peculiar to that database
- Search by keyword
- Use quotation marks " " for a specific phrase: "literature review"
- Truncate your search term (famil* finds family, families, familial)
- Use Boolean operators (AND, OR) to combine concepts
- Limit sources by format and material type
- Use subjects assigned to one source to find other sources
- Use the references at the end of an article to find other articles
- Use the term “Literature Reviews” combined with your topic
- Export the bliographic information for your resources to RefWorks
- Keep a list of the databases you search. Use the Research Log below.
Use this log to keep track of your database searches.
Sample Research Log
Sample of how a Research Log will look.
Use this log to keep track of the keywords, databases and results of your research.