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WR122 Ormandy

Research help to support WR 122

Search strategy overview - databases

Use these tipsWork smarter, not harder. when you search in CCC Library databases. Your search results will be more focused and relevant to your topic!

  1. Use quotation marks around phrases and search terms to search for the words in the exact order you would like, instead of separately.
    Basic search, "emotional support animals"
  2. Use different search boxes for each different idea that makes up your overall topic.
    Advanced search

 

Too Many Results? Too Few Results?
  1. Add in additional search terms.
  2. Limit to peer-reviewed journals.
  3. Limit by date.
  4. Limit by subject.
  5. Limit to items with full-text availability.
  6. Change the search box dropdown menu to "Abstract" or "Subject."
  1. Verify that you spelled everything correctly.
  2. Erase unnecessary search terms.
  3. Try different search terms.
  4. Use the Boolean operator OR between search terms.
  5. Remove any limits you may have added to an earlier search.
  6. Change the search box dropdown menu to "All Text" or "Entire Document."

Need help with too many or too few results? Call, email, chat with, or stop by and see a librarian!

Boolean: Better searches with AND, OR, NOT

Use these three powerful little words - called Boolean operators - to create better searches.

What are Boolean operators?

Boolean operators are words that we use to link two or more keywords while searching. Linking your keywords with the words AND, OR, and NOT help to expand or narrow the results you get while searching.

AND

  • AND tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you are requiring both terms to be in your results. Linking two keywords with the word AND ensures that all of your search results have keyword #1 AND keyword #2.
  • Use this Boolean operator when you are comparing, contrasting, or otherwise relating two keywords!
  • Example: "peanut butter"  AND jelly 
    • Will only show me results that contain both peanut butter AND jelly, because I want both of them.

OR

  • OR tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you are okay with either keyword (or both keywords) appearing in your search results. Linking two keywords with the word OR ensure that all results with have either keyword #1 OR keyword #2 OR both.
  • Use this operator to link synonyms (words that mean the same thing). 
  • Example: jelly OR jam
    • Will return results that include jelly, jam, and jelly and jam. This is because these words are interchangeable and I'm okay with seeing results with either word.

NOT

  • NOT  tells the catalog or database you are searching in that you only want results containing one keyword, but NOT the other. Linking two keywords with the word NOT will only return results containing keyword #1 but NOT keyword #2.
  • Use this Boolean operator when you have noticed that searching for keyword #1 also returns results about keyword #2, but that is not what you are looking for.
  • Example: jelly NOT grape
    • Will return results that contain jelly, but NOT results that contain grape, because I'm not looking for information on grape jelly.

 

Set of three Venn diagrams showing the relationship between keywords when AND, OR, and NOT are used in a search.

Searching Databases

Not sure how to search a database? Here are some basic tips that apply to most databases. 

Searching Databases from Yavapai College Library on Youtube.

Google like a librarian

We all use it - now let's learn to use it better!

  1. Use quotation marks around your search terms to search for the words in the exact order you would like, instead of separately.
    Google - "quotation marks"
  2. Use intitle: to retrieve webpages with your keywords in the title of the webpage.
    Google - intitle: search
  3. Use site:. to retrieve webpages from URLs in the domain (.gov, .edu, .org) you specify.  
    Google - site:. search
  4. Use - (a hyphen or minus sign) in front of words to exclude them from your search results.
    Google - NOT
  5. Use OR in between words to have either or both of the words included in your search results. OR must be capitalized. This is a good way to search for synonyms.
    Google - OR
    In the above example, Google will find results that include (election AND fraud) and (voter AND fraud).
  6. Use filetype: to retrieve specific types of files (instead of html webpages). Works for finding most file types.
    filetype: search
  7. Use several strategies at once for very specific results.
    Google - all of the above search strategies!

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