Download the OCLS Research Strategy Worksheet.
Unlike Google, most databases do not use a natural language search. You need to break your question down into keywords and terms to create an effective search.
Example Question: "What is the impact of having the media in the courtroom?"
A thesaurus can help you think of other search terms.
Now that you have identified some keywords, you will need to think about how to combine them for the most effective search.
I entered all the keywords and alternate keywords "impact affect effect influence media journalist journalism newspapers news cameras court trial" into the database, but I didn't find anything useful. What am I doing wrong?
You just need to use these terms along with Boolean search operators so the database knows how it should combine them.
Boolean Searching is a type of searching that allows you to combine keywords using operators like AND, OR, and NOT.
AND narrows a search by telling the database that ALL keywords used must be found in an article in order for it to appear in your results list. Search for two or more concepts that interest you by combining descriptive keywords with AND.
OR broadens a search by telling the database that any of the words it connects are acceptable. This is particularly helpful when you are searching for synonyms.
NOT narrows your search by telling the database to eliminate all terms that follow it from your search results. This can be useful when you are interested in a very specific aspect of a topic but wants to weed out issues you aren't planning to write about.
Use NOT with caution as good items can be eliminated from the results retrieved.
|OCLS QUICKsearch||Listed under each article||Subjects|
|Business Source Complete||Top Menu||Thesaurus|
|Academic Search Complete||Top Menu||Subject Terms|
|Beside Advanced Search||Thesaurus|
Other ways to broaden or narrow your search:
When you are searching for a phrase or term (that is longer than one word), you need to put it in quotations, so the database knows to search for those words together,