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Writing 001 -- Library Research (Gingold): Search Hints

Search Tips

In order to find the best sources for your research, you will need to identify which parts of your research question or topic are the most important.

For example:

Does parenting style effect student performance on standardized tests?

In this example, the important terms are:

  • parenting style
  • student performance
  • standardized tests

To get the best results, you may next want to try brainstorming related words in order to broaden your search. For example:

  • parenting style OR attachment parenting OR authoritarian parenting
  • student performance OR score OR grade OR success
  • standardized tests OR SAT OR ACT

You can combine these terms with the words AND and OR to limit or broaden your search.

AND combines two unrelated concepts and narrows your search, e.g. parenting style AND grades

OR allows you to search for related ideas and will give you more results, e.g. women OR female OR girls

These search strings combining keywords and AND and OR are what you will type into the database. To get the best results, try a few different combinations of keywords. It can also be a good idea to check different databases.

Finding Background Information

It can be a good idea to look some background information as you begin your research. Credo Reference, a library database, is a great way to find reference articles about a variety of topics from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and more.

This step by step tutorial will help you learn to use Credo Reference.

Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete can be a great place to start your research once you have identified some keywords. This video will show you how it works.